Pakistan, Hellenic to serve Australia?

Will PIA’s 777s, a -300ER of which is seen approaching LHR, be used for new routes to China and Australia? Photograph: AirSpace user apgphoto

Less than two weeks into the new year two airlines have emerged with possible plans to serve Australia, but don’t yet call the giant ribbon and scissor company and place them on standby.

First, a very unconfirmed news report says Pakistan Airlines plans to serve Sydney in the future.

The timeframe is pegged to a convoluted aircraft operation. The report says PIA from March will use Airbus (A310s) to bring passengers from Pakistan to Turkey from where Turkish Airlines will bring them to the US and Europe.

If and once that occurs the aircraft on US routes (and presumably Europe too) will be used for new Sydney and Beijing routes. (I’ll note the article references Airbus jets on US routes, but to my understanding PIA uses 777s to the US.)

What market PIA envisions for Sydney and Beijing I don’t know, but their justification, according to “sources”, for a new Houston route is humorous: PIA will fly to Houston “in order to send people [the] message that PIA is still in operation on US routes.”

A spokesman for Sydney airport says, “Our marketing team is out talking to airlines all the time and PakistanInternational Airlines would certainly be welcome at Sydney Airport.”

Original article here:

Second, a statement from Greek carrier Hellenic Imperial Airways says the carrier plans to launch services to Melbourne (no frequency or equipment info given) as well as other unspecified ”international destinations which are part of the network Hellenic Imperial Airways is planning to operate to, are currently in the final stage of obtaining the necessary permits and slots after having been appointed the designated carrier.”

Hellenic says it will release more details later this month.

There’s no word yet from Melbourne Airport, but no doubt they will pull out all the stops, as they have been very good at doing for new carriers.

The carrier plans to first launch services to New York, Chicago,Montreal and Toronto (tall order!) in May or June this year. Their press release is here:

If Hellenic does fly to Melbourne, that would be a thorn in Jetstar’s often-discussed Athens route to be launched with 787s.

As last year’s Air India saga has shown, file these two carriers under “believe it when I see it”.

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