Qatar Airways today unveiled the launch dates of three new passenger destinations in Pakistan as part of the airline’s continued expansion strategy.
Beginning 16th July 2015, the airline will begin four weekly passenger services to Sialkot where it already operates dedicated freighter services three times a week. Sialkot also marks Qatar Airways' first new passenger route to Pakistan since 2004.
A day later, on 17th July 2015, Qatar Airways will add Faisalabad to its Pakistan network with three flights a week, and from 1st August 2015, Qatar Airways will spread its wings further in Pakistan with the launch of three flights a week to Multan.
Qatar Airways currently operates 45 flights a week spread across four cities in Pakistan double daily flights to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, and three flights a week to Peshawar. Karachi was first launched by the airline in 1995, Peshawar in 1998, Lahore in 1999 and Islamabad in 2004.
Qatar Airways Group Akbar Al Baker explained the importance of the new routes to Pakistan, saying: "We have had a well-established operation in Pakistan for many years, but have always been looking to expand more, and now thanks to new agreements in place between the relevant authorities, we will soon enjoy significantly greater capacity between Qatar and Pakistan.
"Our passengers will be able to take advantage of an enhanced choice of destinations when we launch our operations to Faisalabad, Sialkot and Multan in Pakistan adding greater convenience for both business and leisure travellers.
"With our state-of-the-art new home at Hamad International Airport and its rapid and convenient connections, these three new routes offer a significantly enhanced offering for our passengers to and from Pakistan and we look forward to welcoming them onboard with our five-star service." Faisalabad is Pakistan’s third largest city and has experienced rapid industrial development as it has nurtured itself into a major growth centre with high economic activity. Key markets in Qatar Airways’ route network for Faisalabad will include destinations in the Middle East and the Americas - Jeddah, Dubai, Muscat, Bahrain, Kuwait, New York, Washington, Chicago and Montreal.
Sialkot is a large economic hub as the city boasts of several manufacturing industries. It is the world's largest producer of hand-sewed footballs, with local factories manufacturing 40-60 million footballs a year, amounting to roughly 70% of the total world production. Europe, the Americas and the Middle East are important regions for travel to and from Sialkot and key destinations include London Heathrow, Manchester, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Rome, Dammam, Abu Dhabi and New York.
As a commercial and industrial center Multan is very well connected with industrial hubs in the rest of the country through rail and air. The city is also an important agricultural center as it is home to a wide variety of crops and livestock. Qatar Airways’ key destination markets to Multan include routes in the Middle East and North America.
Qatar Airways will operate an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of up to 12 seats in Business Class and up to 132 in Economy Class on all the new routes to Pakistan.
With five new destinations on the horizon (Amsterdam, Durban, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Multan), Qatar Airways will increase its global portfolio to 151 destinations across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, North America and South America. The carrier currently operates a modern fleet of 149 aircraft.