ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is witnessing a boom in air traffic as 22 million passengers flew commercial airlines in the country in a year, encouraging international airline Emirates to launch its Airbus A380 weekly service from Islamabad to Dubai.
“The Emirates Airbus A380 will start its inaugural flights between Islamabad and Dubai from July 8,” Zaman Shah, a representative of Emirates Airlines in Karachi, told Arab News on Friday.
Initially, the double-decker A380 will operate the route four times a week, but the number of flights may later be increased, he said. The airline operates 10 weekly flights between Islamabad and Dubai.
“At this time, both our A380 flights — from Dubai to Islamabad and back — are booked as people seem excited to see and travel in this marvelous Airbus,” Shah said.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan’s aviation market is among the fastest growing in the world.
The International Air Transport Association says the growth rate of the country’s aviation sector could reach 9 percent per year, and this upward trend may continue until 2020.
Air traffic in Pakistan has surged by more than 40 percent in the last five years, and is expected to rise further in the coming years, said Owais Usman, director of Lords Travel International.
“Pakistan has succeeded in eliminating terrorism, resulting in a boom in its economy and air travel,” he told Arab News.
“More Pakistanis are now traveling abroad for education, jobs and tourism. Likewise, the number of foreigners visiting Pakistan has witnessed an increase in the last couple of years.”
At least five new local airlines are in the process of launching their operations in Pakistan by the end of 2018 due to the increase in air traffic in recent years, Usman said.
The launching of the A380 Airbus “shows that international airlines consider Pakistan a good destination for their business,” he added.
“This will also increase competition within the international airlines industry, and benefit passengers in terms of air fares.”
The Emirates Airbus A380 will receive a celebratory water cannon salute as it lands in Islamabad on July 8. Hundreds of aviation fans are likely to show up at Islamabad’s airport to watch the landing.
The new Islamabad International Airport has all the modern facilities and capacity to handle the world’s largest passenger airplane, said Farah Hussain, spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Authority.
“It’s encouraging and exciting that the A380 is going to land in Islamabad,” she told Arab News.