German airlines, Lufthansa, a member of the Star Alliance Network, is finally coming to Pakistan with flights 3 times a week to Karachi and Lahore. I feel as though I have been waiting for this news for a while. My past few trips to Pakistan have been near disasters as far as the airlines are concerned. Some time back most top international airlines (at least those that fly through Europe) decided to stop going to Pakistan. Pakistanis traveling back home from the US were left to take Gulf-based airlines such as Emirates, Gulf Air or Etihaad. PIA, the flagship national carrier was also stopped from flying through Europe, essentially bringing its US operations to a halt.
While Emirates has provided an OK experience in the past, one cannot really say the same about Gulf Air and Etihaad. Here is my view on it. I think they treat Pakistanis as second class citizens (maybe not if you fly first class with them which I now intend to do if I have to take them to Karachi or Lahore) – and I sometimes find Pakistanis put themselves in a situation where they get treated poorly. For example, I have seen Pakistani families use such caution, care, niceties, and decorum while flying from through US and Europe, but somehow lose their politeness (and cleanliness) on the last leg of the Gulf-to-Pakistan flight.
Maybe the Lufthansa experience will be different… I hope so.
Lufthansa announces flights from Pakistan
LAHORE: Lufthansa, a German Airline, has announced to start its flights towards Karachi and Lahore from October 2007.
An official press release by the company on Saturday announced that the company would start its service from October 28, 2007 thrice a week flights from Karachi to Lahore and Frankfurt.
Vice President sales and services Southeast Europe, Africa and Middle East, Joachim Steinback has stated Lufthansa Network would strengthen the bilateral economic relation by connecting the commercial and industrial cities of Pakistan, Middle East and Germany.
Joachim Steinback, who is also heading the strategically most important regions of Lufthansa Network, said that passengers of Pakistan and Germany would have access to the extensive route network of Lufthansa connecting through the Lufthansa hub Frankfurt to other European countries as well as to the United States.
Mr Steinbach further said, passengers would benefit from the new Lufthansa flights since the non stop connection from Pakistan to Germany would reduce travel time by up to three hours as compared to current connecting flights from gulf to Europe. He said this step of Lufthansa airline would be a great advantage for the business travellers.
Lufthansa also announced appointments for Pakistan and Mr Ian Patrick would be Lufthansa Country manger for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr Patrick has a long and varied airlines experience as he has experience of consulting for numerous fields of marketing, revenue enhancement and route feasibility. staff report
UPDATED: Another news item
More international airlines to operate from Pakistan
By Muhammad Yasir
KARACHI: At least three more international airlines are seeking permission from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for initiating their passenger flight service from Pakistan, Director General CAA Farooq Rehmatullah disclosed this to Daily Times.
Three airlines, namely China International Airline, Virgin Atlantic Airline and Midland Airways are negotiating with CAA for initiating passenger flight service from the country, which is being considered by CAA management.
The CAA in its currently formulated five-year business plan has decided to increase the number of international airlines operating in the country from 24 to 40 between 2008 and 2012.
It s also planned to make Karachi and Lahore regional hubs for West-bound air traffic from the Asia-Pacific region, by seeking investments in airport-related infrastructure of the two cities.
On the question that Pakistan International Airline (PIA) could suffer from this liberal airspace policy, he replied that CAA had changed its strategy, making it more competitive, compatible and professional.
He added that previously all the policies had been made to protect PIA and other national airlines but these airlines could not produce the expected results.
Three airlines are also seeking CAA’s permission for extending their flights.
The CAA has allowed the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Airline to resume its passenger service to Pakistan from October 28 this year. Germany’s Lufthansa has served its flight service for 39 year in past for Pakistan. Lufthansa will come on stream, with thrice-weekly flights from Frankfurt to Karachi and, for the first time, also to Lahore. However, it would extend its services to five flights a week after six months and one flight per day after one year.
Moreover, the CAA has allowed British Airways to extend its passenger flights from thrice weekly to six flights a week by November this year. These flights ply on Islamabad to London and other European destinations.
Singapore Airline is seeking CAA’s permission for increasing its thrice-weekly flight from five flights in a week.
Regarding establishment of airport cities, Mr Rehmatullah said that CAA has planed to urbanise surrounding areas of airports with all advance features including hotels, shopping centers, apartments, cafes and other, adding that CAA would make this public at the end of the year.
Aviation experts commenting on the issue said that the resumption and introduction of airlines would create a competitive environment among international and national airlines that would benefit the passengers and tourism industry.
“The competition will reduce the fare rates of international and local flights gradually,” they added.
They also said that the introduction of new airline companies would bring advance aviation technologies to Pakistan. Other facilities like cargo services will have to be improved as the land is cheaper in Pakistan and international airlines could use this to their advantage.