Airblue Plans to Expand GCC Operations
SHARJAH — Airblue, Pakistan’s fastest growing private airline, has planned to expand its operations in the Gulf region by launching new flight services for Kuwait and Bahrain next year, a top offcial said on Thursday.
Talking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of an event held in Sharjah to chalk out the airline’s expansion plan in the GCC region, Airblue’s Managing Director Syed Nasir Ali said that the airline is going to introduce daily flight service on Sharjah-Lahore sector from January 1.
“Airline’s Peshawar service from Sharjah and Dubai is expected by July,” he said. “We will offer special fare packages on new destinations to attract more passengers,” Nasir said adding that the airline also plans to introduce new services for Multan, Peshawar and Sialkot from Dubai and Sharjah next year.
Nasir pointed out that Sharjah is the first step in the present expansion plan of the airline. “The airline has good prospects for growth in Middle East,” he said.
About GCC expansion plans, he said the airline will introduce new services for Kuwait and Bahrain in 2009 after inducting new A320s in our fleet by July next year. The airline has already been operating three weekly flights for Muscat successfully.
He said the airline is currently operating 76 flights in GCC region and that frequency will be increased to 82 after introducing new flight operations on various destinations in Pakistan from the Gulf.
Airblue, which started operations in 2004, is one of the country’s two private domestic carriers. At present, it flies to seven Pakistani cities, as well as to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE, Muscat and Manchester in Britain. The airline currently operates six A320s.
Nasir said the airline is planning for future long-term expansion very strategically and is primarily focusing on markets where Pakistani expatriates demand a regular service.
“We will add new destinations gradually with the induction of new aircraft under the $500 million deal signed last year at Dubai Airshow with Airbus for 14 A320s,” he said. “Airblue is the first private airline to have placed an order for 14 brand new A320 aircraft.”
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