Emirates is eager to launch its A380 routes into Pakistan, and is already in talks with Pakistani authorities to make it happen, senior officials on board Emirates' first A380 flight into Pakistan noted.
on the historic one-off flight to Islamabad on Sunday morning, Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice-President of Commercial Operations Centre at Emirates, said that the flight was just the beginning in a new chapter for the airline in Pakistan. "We are still in talks with the government and the authorities to extend the one-off flight into a dedicated daily A380 flight," he said. "There has been a lot of progress, and we expect the positive news to come any day now."
The one-off flight from Dubai to the newly-opened Islamabad International Airport marks the first time that the airline's signature aircraft touched down in Pakistan. Flight EK2524 took off from Dubai in the early hours on Sunday morning and touched down in the capital to a traditional water canon salute. The return flight, EK2525, will flew in the early afternoon and touched down in Dubai on the same day.
UAE Ambassador to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi said that the flight reflects the strong relationship between the UAE and Pakistan. "It also reflects how both sides can work together in the future to make this flight a daily flight. We are working very hard with the Pakistani authorities to ensure that our relationship grows even stronger in the future."
Asked if there are other cities in Pakistan that are being considered for possible A380 routes, Sheikh Majid said: "We look at a lot of things when considering our A380 routes. We look at demand and supply. Pakistan is an important market for us, with demand for services standing at a healthy 90 per cent. Another thing that we look at is the capability of the airports to be able to cater to the passenger load for an A380. This is why Islamabad is such an important destination for us; we know that the new airport has the facilities to cater to the passengers in an A380 route."
"The last thing that we look at are traffic rights," he explained. "In Karachi, we have an open skies agreement so we can come and go as we please. However, in the northern areas of Pakistan, we are a bit limited in terms of bilateral agreements. However, we are very positive about our future with Pakistan. Everything takes time, and we are already in talks with the government, and hopefully we will be extending the A380 service to different parts of Pakistan soon."
Speaking about competition, Sheikh Majid said that the airline was comfortable with its steady pace of expansion. "For us, any competition is good competition; it is good for the airline, and for the UAE. Competition makes us strong, and we have already seen this in various markets. The relationship between the UAE and Pakistan goes beyond the 33 years of Emirates Airline. We are just one of the facilitators that hope to further connect the two nations. We see ourselves as an entity that opens opportunities."
"We are also very interested in offering tourists in the UAE a chance to see more of Pakistan, and tourists in Pakistan a chance to see more of the UAE," he added. "Pakistan is by no means a small country, and it has huge opportunities that we are looking forward to being a part of."
SOURCE : KHALEEJTIMES