Pakistans biggest private airline, is looking to corner the
lucrative Gulf market with four more destinations set to follow
the launch of its Abu Dhabi service on Sunday.
a week will operate between Lahore and Abu Dhabi International Airport
with the airline hoping to step the service up to twice daily as
demand from the estimated 300,000 Pakistani expatriates living in
the emirate increases.
the success of AirBlues existing Dubai service, the carrier
revealed it planned to start a Lahore to Muscat, Oman, operation
from September 15 and to fly to Kuwait City by the end of the year.
600,000 Pakistani nationals in the UAE, the carrier said it also
wanted to increase its routes in the country, with two to three
weekly flights to Al Ain from Peshawar commencing in three months
It said it was
still committed to launching its Sharjah operations despite having
to halt the service earlier this month after being denied access
to the airport. The airline said it could commence the service within
two to three weeks of being given permission to start operations
to the airport.
around 30,000 passengers each month between Pakistan and Dubai.
began in 2005, a year after AirBlue started operations. AirBlues
only other international service is to Manchester in the UK.
At a reception
ceremony to mark the airlines first flight into Abu Dhabi,
the 40th carrier to operate from the airport, AirBlue said its target
for the route would be 4 to 5,000 passengers per month.
general manager of marketing for AirBlue, said: The UAE is
our most important market because the growth rate is there, the
yield is there and the expansion is there.
are a lot of Pakistanis who are coming to visit the UAE and a lot
who are working here and a lot of Pakistanis who have invested in
the UAE in real estate.
He said the
rising cost of oil meant fuel now formed 50 to 55 percent of the
airlines overall operational costs but it was overcoming the
problem by cost control measures including reducing commission for
travel agents, offering snacks instead of meals on some flights
and using only one engine when taxiing.
Bulooki, VP, airline marketing and aeronautical revenue at ADAC,
said : We are sure that AirBlue will prosper on this route
and we are sure they will increase their frequencies into Abu Dhabi.
Within the past year or so $7bn of trade has happened between the
UAE and Pakistan and we hope AirBlue will add to this impressive