United Arab Emirates (UAE) low-cost carrier, Air Arabia, has revealed plans to add an eighth route into Pakistan from its Sharjah International Airport base before the end of the year. The three times weekly service to Faisalabad will commence from October 25, 2015 and joins Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, and Sialkot on its Pakistan route map. Flights to Quetta also commence from June 17, 2015.
“Air Arabia has a long-standing commitment to serve the Pakistan market and we are proud to operate an exceptionally comprehensive route network covering the length and breadth of the country,” said Adel A. Ali, group chief executive officer, Air Arabia, while taking time out from his attendance at the inaugural Routes Middle East & Africa forum in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.
“With more than a million Pakistanis living in the UAE, demand for value-for-money air travel between the two countries is exceptionally strong and is growing every year. The addition of Faisalabad further strengthens the cultural and commercial ties between both nations and offers an even greater level of convenience and flexibility to our customers,” he added.
Faisalabad is a city of more than two million people located in the province of Punjab. A major centre of industry and manufacturing, the city is estimated to contribute approximately one fifth of Pakistan’s total GDP. This will be the first link between Sharjah and Faisalabad and only current link between the Pakistan city and the UAE, although it has been previously linked to both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Air Arabia has come a long way in Pakistan since it made its debut in May 2007 when it inaugurated non-stop flights between its Sharjah International Airport base and Jinnah International Airport in Karachi and Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar. Alongside its routes from Sharjah, it is also serves the Pakistan market from its new base at Ras Al Khaimah, also in the UAE.
In the chart below, we highlight the growth of Air Arabia’s capacity into Pakistan over the nine calendar years it has served the market. This year’s published schedules see its share of capacity between UAE and Pakistan reach its highest level at over eight per cent for the full calendar year.