Gulf Air to boost Pakistan flights
Manama, August 31, 2013
Flights between Bahrain and Pakistan are expected to double following negotiations between high-level officials, said a report.
Civil aviation authorities in Manama and Islamabad signed an air transport agreement that aims to accommodate the growing demand for direct routes by the 100,000-member Pakistani community.
They have given Gulf Air and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) the green light to land multiple aircraft in both countries.
Pakistan Ambassador Jauhar Saleem said the plan would pave way for increased bilateral trade between the countries.
"The number of Pakistanis going to or through Bahrain was estimated to be almost one million a year, of which many were going through Bahrain to Mecca," he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"Those travelling from Bahrain are usually of Pakistani origin going back to visit families and the demand for more flights is definitely there.
"A delegation from Pakistan's Civil Aviation Ministry visited Bahrain to discuss an agreement that would increase the number of flights between the two countries.
"The plan is to increase co-operation and trade, but first the framework has to be provided," he stated.
Saleem said the national carriers of both countries could soon increase the number of flights two-fold.
"For Gulf Air that sector is very profitable and because the airline flies to several cities around the world it would link Pakistan to those destinations.
"I expect the number of flights to double shortly as Bahrain becomes a hub."
However, PIA country manager Akhtas Hussain told the GDN it would be impossible to predict the rise in air traffic before the agreements are finalised.
"These things are on the way," he said.
"At the moment there is only one flight a week from Bahrain to Lahore and then from Lahore to Karachi."
Gulf Air flies 14 times a week to Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar and has been given the right to increase the number of flights to 25 a week.
"The air transport agreement allows for increased flights to Gulf Air's existing destinations in Pakistan from 14 weekly flights to a total of 25 flights a week.
"The details of the extra frequencies and schedule will be announced shortly as part of Gulf Air's winter schedule," said an airline spokeswoman.
"Gulf Air has had a strong presence in Pakistan since its first flight in 1972, and currently operates a total of 14 weekly flights to Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar.
"As one of the Middle East's largest network carriers, Gulf Air is well-positioned to connect Pakistan to several key destinations in the Middle East and Europe with excellent connectivity via its efficient hub Bahrain," she said.-TradeArabia News Service