ISLAMABAD Even if the already hard-pressed remote areas in the country acquire small airports in their vicinities after the decade-old endeavours, they will have to suffer step-motherly attitude at the hands of the Pakistani licentiate airlines for not operating their flights in those areas. These remote areas (the socio-economic routes of the country) are badly suffering because of the fewer number of flights. This sorry state of affairs can be attributed to the violation of the existing Civil Aviation policy (CAA) by private airlines that usually prefer to operate outside the country or opt to pay royalty to national flag carrier (PIA) instead of operating their flights in remote areas, revealed an investigative study carried out by TheNation. Mainly two private airlines named Shaheen and Air Blue which have clearly been asked through the existing CAA policy to operate in the remote areas (socio-economic routes) have not yet touched routes of those areas and operate outside the country. Private airlines must service minimum two trunk routes and minimum two flights per week on any one socio-economic/tertiary route, says CAA existing policy, whose document is available to TheNation. Both the private airlines operating in the country were granted licence only to the fact and assurance that they will operate in the commercial as well as the remote routes of the country. According to the CAA policy, the socio-economic/ tertiary routes are Chitral, Gilgit, Skardu, Panjgor, Pasni, Turbat, Jewani, Nawab Shah, Rahim Yar Khan, D.I. Khan, Zhob, Muzafarabad, D.G Khan, Ormara, Haiderabad, Jacobabad, Dalbandin, Rawla Kot. Sources in the CAA said that these private airlines were operating in Dubai and Manchester but preferred not to operate in the far-off areas and instead paid royalty of Rs 500,000 per month. The sources further said that the private airlines were regularly operating in on commercial routes such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad but flights for small routes are not available, thus creating problems for the people of remote areas. It was also learnt that the amount of royalty was far less than the the operational charges of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) yet it is being agreed. Mainly on these remote areas small airplanes are operating which are not properly catering for the load of passengers, as most of the time passengers have to adopt indirect flights to reach their hometown. As in case of Rahim Yar Khan, passengers have only one direct flight a week and in the otherwise case of indirect flights they have to take flight via Lahore to reach Rahim Yar Khan. It is also pertinent to mention here that fare of indirect flights is almost double to the direct flight. It is relevant to note here that in order to meet the requirement of remote areas, the PIA is restarting its flight from the first week of next month that will cover Balochsitan remote areas. When contacted, Acting Director Air Transport (PIA) Khawar Hayat confirmed that the private airlines Shaheen and Air Blue were not operating in the socio-economic routes. He also rushed to say that both the airlines were paying royalty Rs500,000 per month as per the CAA policys condition for not operating in those areas. As per the condition these private airlines are paying royalty regularly for not operating in remote areas of the country, he added. When contacted, officials of the private airline Air Blue in Islamabad said that they were not operating on socio-economic routes. A similar reply was given by the other private airline Shaheen office in Islamabad.