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Published on : Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Emirates, a global connector of people and places today launched services to Sialkot, its fifth destination in Pakistan. Emirates will operate four weekly flights with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration, offering 54 seats in Business Class and 183 in Economy Class.
The inaugural flight EK620 departed from Terminal 3, Dubai International at 04.15 hours and touched down at 08.20 hours local time. Onboard was a delegation including His Excellency Essa El Basha Al Nuaimi, UAE Ambassador for Pakistan; Ashfaq Ahmed Chaudhry, Chairman Sialkot International Airport; Khawar Anwar Khawaja, Chief Executive Grays of Cambridge (Pakistan) & member for both Sialkot International Airport Limited and Chamber of Commerce; Salah Al Ansari, Director, Visitor Information Bureaus – Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Dr. Abdulla Al Hashemi, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Group Security; Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations – West Asia & Indian Ocean and Khalid Bardan, Vice President Pakistan and Afghanistan. The group was greeted on arrival by Major General Mir Haider Ali Khan, CEO of Sialkot International Airport.
“Pakistan was the first country Emirates flew to just over 28 years ago”, said Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean. “Since then the airline has steadily grown its network and continued to link the Pakistani community to the UAE as well as to worldwide destinations, making it easier to connect with friends, family and trade opportunities. Dubai and Pakistan have very close links due to the large community of Pakistanis living in the region and the level of trade between the UAE and Pakistan.”
“Sialkot International Airport is Pakistan’s first privately owned airport”, said Ashfaq Ahmed Chaudhry, Chairman of Sialkot International Airport. “Having Emirates commence operations here will boost the regional economy, and offers Emirates passengers a convenient new entry point to Pakistan through our modern and efficiently run facility.”
Sialkot is the capital of Sialkot District located in the north-east of the Punjab province in Pakistan. Situated around 125 kilometres north of Lahore, it provides Emirates’ customers with an alternative gateway to the Export Triangle of Pakistan – the area encompassing Gujrat, Sialkot and Gujranwala. The city is renowned as a key manufacturing base particularly for sports goods and clothing, gloves, surgical instruments, cutlery, ceramics and leather garments. The Emirates A330-200 operating the Sialkot service can carry up to 17 tonnes of cargo, giving a boost to trade opportunities.
Emirates flight EK620 departs Dubai at 04:15 hours and arrives in Sialkot at 08:20 hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The return flight EK621 leaves Sialkot at 09:45 hours, arriving in Dubai at 12:35 hours. Emirates’ flights from Sialkot connect seamlessly through the airline’s global hub in Dubai to key business and leisure destinations such as the UK, continental Europe and the Middle East.
The Emirates Group employs over 4,000 Pakistanis across its business divisions, including 86 Cabin Crew, 17 Pilots and a team of over 230 based in Pakistan. The airline operates 66 flights a week to Pakistan including four to Sialkot, 35 to Karachi, 11 each to Lahore and Islamabad and five to Peshawar.