19 November 2008
DUBAI // Pakistans
largest private carrier, Airblue, has received permission from Sharjah
authorities to operate seven weekly flights to two Pakistani destinations.
operate four weekly flights serving Lahore, Pakistans second-largest
city, from Dec 1 and will fly three times a week between Sharjah
and Islamabad, starting on Dec 15.Airblue will become the only Pakistani
carrier to have extensive presence at every major aviation hub in
the UAE including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
In July, Sharjah
International Airport gave Airblue permission to operate 14 weekly
flights to and from four Pakistani destinations, but days before
the launch of operations on Aug 14 it withdrew the offer without
giving a reasons.
As an alternative,
the airline then stuck a deal with Abu Dhabi airport and on Aug
24 began four weekly flights from Abu Dhabi to Lahore.
operates 21 flights from Dubai and four from Abu Dhabi. In total,
Airblue will have 32 weekly flights from different destinations
in the UAE to Pakistan by the end of this year, including the seven
still pursuing our Gulf, South Asia and European route expansion
plan, a senior Airblue executive said.
next year, we are planning to start flights to Islamabad and Peshawar
from Abu Dhabi, he added.
With the bulk
of Emirates Airline operations steadily moving to the newly opened
terminal three in Dubai, Airblue expects to secure additional landing
slots at the airport in the near future.
also received permission from Oman to fly three times a week between
Lahore and Muscat and is negotiating landing rights for Kuwait.
leased two additional A319 aircraft in August and plans to use them
on Gulf routes. About one million Pakistani expatriates live in
the Emirates, the majority of whom live and work in Abu Dhabi, Dubai,
Sharjah and Ajman.
has plans for an initial public offering next year to fund its US$850
million (Dh3.12 billion) acquisition of 14 Airbus A320 aircraft,
has a fleet of eight aircraft.
already flies to the UK and is eyeing other European and South Asian
destinations, including India and major hubs in Scandinavia.