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Aviation in Air-Pocket

Muhammad Mustafeez 10:55 PM | 22 Apr, 2020
Aviation in Air-Pocket

Amidst the ensuing crisis which the industries across the globe are facing in terms of economics, there is one industry in particular where the turbulence is completely crushing. The impact of COVID-19 has taken hold of the aviation industry by the jugular; the impact is so severe that it has forced the big fishes of the industry to bow-down before the government relief funds and grants.

According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), it is estimated that the global airline revenue is set to drop by $314 billion by the end of the year, following the cancellation of about $3.5million flights which were scheduled until the end of June. What’s even more daunting is the fact that about 25 million jobs are at risk. Never in history has the industry felt so vulnerable, the likes of this pandemic have downplayed the impact of both 9/11 and 2008 economic recession.

Many countries across the globe have limited air-travel by putting restriction both on national and international flights, as a result, the travel fares have seen a sharp decline, but the fear amongst the passengers have become so deep-rooted that any new blossoming is very farfetched. Some of the leading airlines have even tried to mitigate the dismay of the passengers by promoting videos on social media and elsewhere by introducing new ‘cleaning’ methods, hoping that this would captivate some of the passengers.

At least, in the long run, the overall hygiene and sanitation standards would have been raised. One means through which the airlines have lingered on to the payback is air-cargo; the demand for cargo has increased exponentially in some of the airports, one such being Heathrow. The reason for this is obvious, countries are in dire need of medical supplies and secondly, the risk factor involved is dramatically reduced.

Considering the situation in Pakistan, the industry just can’t seem to flourish no matter what, even before the advent of this virus. Everyone’s favorite PIA is always packed in the midst of controversies and scandals. Consequently, there is also the problem of extra-labor in PIA, in comparison both Singapore Airlines(SIA) and PIA have a similar number of employees but the difference in the number of planes in their fleets insignificant, SIA almost has a 100 more aircraft in its possession, this is very alarming. The competitive and robust nature of the national air-line always frenzies the minds of its passengers; even their reliance on giving sadka is particularly adored, as one may recall after the infamous tragedy that happened with the ill-fated ATR-42.

Secondly, the most profitable route for PIA has always been associated with the transport of pilgrims to and from the holy-cities. Keeping in an account of the developing conditions there might be a slight chance that this year’s Hajj is suspended, if this happens then PIA will inevitable further fall in the pit of its own making. Airblue and Shaheen similarly are also barely sustaining themselves; they too would need support from the government in various forms. Wealthier countries are significantly keeping their respective airlines at bay by providing them the essential stimulus, for example in America, the Trump administration handed over a sum of $58 billion to prop up the industry. This will give various airlines the air they desperately needed.

Then there’s the actual problem of grounding an air-craft, aircraft are designed to stay in the air for the majority of the time, if they aren’t doing what they are innately built for then it becomes a costly predicament for the companies. Firstly there is the nuisance of storing an aircraft that is not being flown; as these days thousands of aircraft are not in service, airliners are inclined to resort to other unflattering means, which include lining up aircraft on runways and also assembling them in boneyards. This severely affects the functioning of the aircraft in the long-run, as each one of them requires individual attention.

Secondly, the cost of maintenance is also very pricey for an aircraft that is stranded in a different country, as each country has its own terms and conditions regarding the taxes and the parking fees. This is why airlines prefer to keep their aircraft close to their home. “Airlines want to keep their aircraft as close as they can to their hub airports because they can maintain them and get them back into the air relatively quickly,” says Sergio Fernandez, IATA’s Europe Regional Director of Airport, Passenger, Cargo, and Security. Not just the airline companies but the manufacturing companies such as Boeing are in deep waters as well, last week the CEO of Boeing issued a letter to its employees, expecting help from US government to the ‘manufacturing base that supports the global air travel industry.’

All things considered, we have no way of knowing the exact timeframe of how long this virus will persist. In the present time, it is increasingly becoming difficult for airlines to adapt to the situation; furthermore, the issue of testing the passengers is not the responsibility of the airlines, it is a governmental constraint and they have to implement robust techniques to facilitate both the passengers and the airlines. However, for the time being, the complete revival of this once flourishing industry is not very imminent.

The author is an independent writer and is currently a student of journalism at Bahria University, Islamabad.

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KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on February 03, 2023 (Friday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 272.25 273.25
Euro EUR 297.32 297.65
UK Pound Sterling GBP 333.31 333.61
U.A.E Dirham AED 73.03 73.33
Saudi Riyal SAR 71.49 71.80
Australian Dollar AUD 188.9 191.3
Bahrain Dinar BHD 712.73 720.73
Canadian Dollar CAD 200.95 203.15
China Yuan CNY 39.67 40.07
Danish Krone DKK 39.11 39.51
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 34.19 34.54
Indian Rupee INR 3.28 3.39
Japanese Yen JPY 2.5 2.54
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 877.76 886.76
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 62.83 63.43
New Zealand Dollar NZD 173.25 175.25
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.76 27.09
Omani Riyal OMR 696.08 704.08
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 73.62 74.32
Singapore Dollar SGD 204 206
Swedish Korona SEK 25.61 25.91
Swiss Franc CHF 291.69 294.19
Thai Bhat THB 8.15 8.3

KARACHI – The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs 212,900 on Friday. The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs182,530.

Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs167,318 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs 195,157.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Karachi PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Islamabad PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Peshawar PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Quetta PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Sialkot PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Attock PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Gujranwala PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Jehlum PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Multan PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Bahawalpur PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Gujrat PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Nawabshah PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Chakwal PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Hyderabad PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Nowshehra PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Sargodha PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Faisalabad PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420
Mirpur PKR 212,900 PKR 2,420

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