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Pakistan's Serene Air to go global in October with Dubai services

Muzaffar Rizvi /Dubai
Filed on August 28, 2020
Pakistan, Serene Air, pia

Serene Air will be the third largest airline in Pakistan after Pakistan International Airline and airblue.

Dubai will be the first international destination of Pakistan's Serene Air when it starts regular commercial operations in October this year, Khaleej Times has learnt.

The Islamabad-based airline, which inducted a A330-200 widebody aircraft to its existing fleet of four Boeing 737-800 planes, will foray into the UAE market with regular services to Dubai and Sharjah. It will be the nation's third-largest carrier after Pakistan International Airline and airblue.

"Serene Air is ready to commence international operations to Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE and followed by Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia," Muhammad Safdar Khan, CEO of Serene Air, said in a statement to Khaleej Times.

He said all spade work for expanding its wings over China and the UK has already been completed and Serene Air's signature would soon appear on the international radar.

Serene Air is a privately-owned airline that began operating domestic flights in the country in January 2017. Since July 3, it operated 53 chartered special flights from the UAE to repatriate approximately 6,000 stranded Pakistanis to major cities of the country.  

Sohail Sheikh, country manager of Serene Air in the UAE, said the airline is ready to launch regular services to Dubai and Sharjah in the first phase of entering the international market.

"We will foray into the Saudi market later this year and we also have firm plans to explore key destinations in China and the UK," he told Khaleej Times.  

Historic milestone

The induction of the A330-200 marks a historic milestone for the airline as it is the only private carrier to operate a widebody two-class configuration aircraft equipped with the latest facilities to carry up to 299 passengers, including 275 in economy class and 24 in club class, to be classified as Serene Plus.

"With this addition, we are poised to become stronger and thrive in the intensively competitive airline industry. This is the start of fleet enhancement as Serene Air would be adding two more A330 to its fleet in the next three to four months," Khan said.

Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said Serene Air has enjoyed three years of successful operations within Pakistan and the airline considers that now is the right time to capitalise on cheap lease rates for widebody aeroplanes to step into the international arena.  

"There's no question that this poses a risk given the Covid-19 pandemic that has decimated air travel, but with Dubai poised to be its first non-Pakistani gateway and that city re-opening for travel, trade and tourism, perhaps there's no better time to take advantage of PIA's fumblings and enter this market and try to build on the slow uptick in demand fortravel to Pakistan," Ahmad told Khaleej Times on Friday.

He added that the real challenge for the airline will be filling their A330-200's profitably - and taking three widebodies in quick succession will definitely make things harder if demand still remains suppressed.    

"Critically, the induction of three A330-200s would make Serene Air the third largest Pakistani airline behind PIA and airblue with a fleet of 7 airplanes, including four Boeing 737-800s, which have proved to be highly popular with travellers."

- muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com 


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