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Business & Finance

With its air taxis, Sky Wings is targeting Pakistani travelers who are in a rush

  • CEO says company is helping customers who have time-constraints, and want a 'safer mode of travel'
Published June 1, 2023

Sky Wings plans to operate air or aerial taxi service from Karachi to underutilised airports of Sindh and Balochistan at a price of Rs100,000-900,000 from this month, and will also expand its services to Lahore, confirmed company CEO Imran Aslam Khan to Business Recorder.

Khan, in a recent interview, said the ‘air taxi’ will be booked through a mobile application that is in its development stage.

The firm recently signed an agreement with a foreign investor to launch this service in Pakistan.

It has been operating for the last two decades in multiple countries including the UAE and Canada where it operates air ambulance and chartered plane services.

The company also offers aerial advertising and banner-towing services, which Khan believes would gain traction during general elections 2023.

The company has eight planes of its own that can carry up to four passengers. Meanwhile, it is involved in talks with another company to add three more air carriers to its fleet.

“Many companies are reaching out to us so they can put their planes in use through our platform,” Khan told Business Recorder in a telephonic interview.

Khan confessed that it was not the best time to launch a service like this, however he added “you have to find your niche in the worst of times”.

Pakistan is currently undergoing one of its worst economic crisis with inflation hitting a record high of 38% in May 2023. A dollar shortage has compounded misery with a bailout programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also stalled since November last year.

Khan said his company had been posting a loss of Rs3 million per month since December 2022 as its airplanes were grounded because the firm was unable to open Letters of Credit (LCs) for fuel due to dollar shortage.

However, Khan said opportunities need to be created.

“You just can’t shut down the economy even if it’s performing at just 50% of its usual level,” he said. “The SMEs should continue to work and create opportunities. Otherwise, what will happen to people who are already struggling in 40% inflation?”

Khan said that there are 29 airports in Pakistan and 20 of them are under-utilised and “the air taxi will help in enhancing utilisation of those airports”.

Khan was of the view that his service will aid businessmen and professionals, who have time constraints, to travel by road in a cost effective manner.

“Cost of chartered plane services is in millions of rupees. Meanwhile, you can travel to Sindh and Balochistan in an air taxi in Rs100,000-900,000.”

He added that the product has a niche market but “there are a lot of people who would be willing to travel to different areas of Balochistan and Sindh to their industries in much less time safely”.

“There are jewelers who travel with huge quantities of gold to different areas of Sindh and air taxis will prove to be highly secure for them. Meanwhile, businessmen would also want to travel to their industries in Balochistan, which would otherwise be very time consuming. The benefits may exceed the cost for many such people.

“The product can also assist professionals such as lawyers, who may have to be at distant places within working hours. It might not be possible for them to travel far-off places by road so they may choose air taxis,” Khan said, explaining his target market.

He said that a bigger aircraft costs between Rs25 million-30 million and for business jets, the price is even higher which will be unaffordable for many businessmen.

Khan said he has received great feedback in Pakistan and he has also been contacted by foreigners.

“We have realised that underutilised airports and aircraft is not just a Pakistani phenomenon. Other countries also face this issue.”

Comments

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Rebirth Jun 01, 2023 09:16pm
Intracity helicopter rides would’ve been great if we had more helipads in our elite’s palatial homes. There’s enough space, of course. We manufacture a commercial version of Super Mushhak. Is that being manufactured and then bought by the company? And if the intracity helicopter service works, we should manufacture those too.
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Tulukan Mairandi Jun 01, 2023 10:51pm
Most Pakistanis are in a rush to flee the country permanently. Even Africa is better!
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Khawaja Pervaiz Saeed Jun 02, 2023 11:05am
Providing relief to travelers in hurry is praiseworthy .Hope the Govt regulations are supportive to this initiative .
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Mubashir Jul 12, 2023 08:38pm
Karachi to Sukkur Air taxi How much PKR for 5 person?
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