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Canada’s Zara Airways punts on Pakistan

A Canadian startup called Zara Airways is eyeing flights between that country and Pakistan as soon as August 2023, according to reports from multiple Pakistani outlets. The reports say the start-up wants to use a pair of B777s (type unspecified) to operate thrice weekly roundtrips between Toronto Pearson and each of Islamabad InternationalKarachi International, and Lahore International.

The reports name Faqir Bawar Hussain Bhakari, a Pakistani-Canadian entrepreneur, as the airline’s founder and Syed Zafar Hussain Quli as CEO. The duo held a press conference in Karachi earlier this week to publicize their plans. The Canada-based start-up has partnered with Shaheen Airport Services for ground handling and turnaround services at Pakistani airports. Former PIA – Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad International) managing director, Ejaz Haroon, has also signed on as an advisor. Media were advised that Zara Airways is currently obtaining a no-objection certificate from Transport Canada and is in codeshare talks with Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau). ch-aviation has contacted both entities to confirm this.

Canadian federal government records reveal that Zara Airways Ltd was registered as a business corporation on May 25, 2023, using a suburban law firm in suburban Toronto as the registered address. In the application, Qali provides a residential address in London, Ontario, while Bhakari appears to reside in Karachi, Pakistan.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, only PIA flies on the Canada – Pakistan country pair. That airline is operating a once weekly roundtrip between Toronto Pearson and Islamabad International over the IATA 2023 summer season using a B777-200LR, as well as twice weekly roundtrips between Toronto Pearson and Karachi Jinnah International and Lahore Allama Iqbal International using the same aircraft type. Qali told the media conference that Zara Airways would target the large Pakistani diaspora in Canada and Canadian tourists looking to visit Pakistan.

Source:  CH Aviation