By Waheed Abbas
Pakistan will soon start producing commercial aircraft for the domestic and international markets, said a senior official.
Air Marshal Ahmer Shahzad of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) told Khaleej Times in an interview that they are looking at producing commercial aircraft with 10 to 30-seat capacity both for executive and non-executive passengers.
“As economic activity picks up with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, we require fast and efficient air transportation to fulfill domestic requirements. We’re also eyeing international requirements in the Middle East and Central Asia,” Shahzad said on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow 2017.
The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex is a Pakistani aerospace, defence, aviation contractor and military corporation producing aerial systems for both military and civilian usage.
Pakistan has put up a pavilion at the Airshow, displaying its Super Mushshak and JF-17 Thunder as well as advanced avionics and electronic equipment. The Pakistan Air Force is participating with the JF-17 Thunder. One light fighter aircraft has been put on static display while another takes part in the daily airshow. In addition, Pakistan is also displaying its technological prowess in advanced avionics and electronic components and production potential at the Airshow.
Shahzad said work on the commercial plane project is expected to start soon.
Commenting on competition in the commercial aircraft segment, Shahzad said: “We’ve produced the Super Mushshak and it’s being sold successfully despite competition. If we make it [commercial aircraft] cost-effective, with sustained logistics and maintenance, it is going to be attractive to international customers.”
The aircraft will be produced at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex’s headquarters in Kamra. Shahzad revealed that Pakistan is going to resume production of more advanced unmanned aerial vehicles too.
Replying to a query about expectations of orders for the JF-17 Thunder and Super Mushshak, the PAC chief said they’re looking for new markets in the Middle East and Far East.
“There are a number of potential buyers for Super Mushshak — which is used for training purposes too. We are fulfilling the requirements of the Pakistan Air Force and are capable of manufacturing aircraft for exports too. Right now, our annual production for JF-17 is 20 aircraft.”
The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex has already signed deals with Turkey, Qatar, Nigeria and Azerbaijan for aircraft export orders.