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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Thai Airways starts operation from Islamabad to Bangkok

News Desk |

Thai Airways International has resumed its operations from Lahore and Islamabad to Bangkok and beyond. The first flight of Thai Airways landed at Islamabad International Airport from Bangkok on Friday.

The Station Manager of Thai Airways and senior officials of Pakistan Civil Aviation Division welcomed the passengers and crew members after landing in Islamabad.

Flights disrupted after India-Pakistan Dogfight in February 

Thai Airways flights were disrupted after the India-Pakistan tensions in February – when both countries closed their airspace to each other. Most flights originating from Pakistan fly west towards Middle East and Europe however Thai airways flies eastward towards Bangkok and later Australia.

Indian PM, Narendra Modi, had order Indian Air-force, on Feb 26, to strike on a seminary at Balakot, in Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (previously called NWFP). Indian Mirages used laser guided spice bombs but missed their targets and ended up hitting the forests causing damage to several trees. Pakistan Air-force (PAF) responded next day by targeting six military installation in the Indian administered Kashmir (called Indian Occupied Kashmir [IOK] in Pakistan).

In the ensuing dogfight India lost its two fighter planes (A Mig-21 and a Mig-27). Both countries closed their airspace close to borders. Later most airspace was opened but overland routes to each other remained suspended. Indian Airlines especially flag carrier, Air India suffered huge losses as it had to take a longer route to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Middle East. Thai Air was the main victim in case of Pakistan as it flies over the Indian land mass en-route to its hub Bangkok. Flights are now resumed as both India  and Pakistan have decided to open their space to each other.

SAPM Zulfiqar Bukhari congratulates Thai Air

Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Hussain Bukhari congratulated the Thai Airways management and said that “Thai Airways has always played an important role to promote tourism and its resumption of flight operation from Islamabad/Lahore to Bangkok will further bolster bilateral relations and particularly tourism”.

This flight is a symbol of the extraordinary links between our two countries, from commerce culture and cricket to people politics and education.

Khawaja Ghiasuddin, Senior Vice President (North Pakistan) Akbar Group of Companies and Sher Khan Senior Manager Thai Airways and Adnan Zia Khan were also present on the occasion.

British Airways returns to Pakistan after a Decade

On June 3, British Airways’ first flight had landed at the Islamabad International Airport (IIA) after its operations were halted for just over a decade ago. The media had reported that Flight No. BA-261 carrying 240 passengers via Boeing 787 Dreamliner, had touched down at 9:25am.

The same aircraft departed for Heathrow at 11:10am, the media said, adding that the British Airways will fly thrice a week between Heathrow and Islamabad during the 2019 summer.

Read more: British Airways to re-launch services for Pakistan from June 2

Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Hussain Bukhari and senior officials of the Aviation Division and the British High Commission had welcomed the passengers at the IIA.

Improved Security Situation led to British Airways Return

British High Commissioner Thomas Drew had said the airline’s resuming operations was a testament to Pakistan’s improving security situation.

In a video message via Twitter, the British envoy had said that “this is a big day for the UK and Pakistan as the first flight of British Airways new direct service takes off from London’s Heathrow, headed here to Islamabad.”

Drew had said that “Britain’s flag carrier is back, the two countries are already so close in so many ways and this will only bring us closer.”

Reportedly, he said that British Airways is the first European airline to return to Pakistan after more than 10 years. “This flight is a symbol of the extraordinary links between our two countries, from commerce culture and cricket to people politics and education,” he said.

In the new policy, he had hoped that the rationalization of different financial charges to airlines would attract investors to start domestic airlines in Pakistan.

“I see this new service as a vote of confidence in the future of those links it will give a particular boost to trade and investment,” the top diplomat was quoted as saying.

More Foreign Airlines to Launch Operation from Pakistan Soon

After the British Airways re-launched its flight operations, several foreign airlines had shown interest in launching their services from Pakistan. The international airlines will provide a convenient connection between the large Pakistani diaspora present in different regions.

In March, the Federal Minister for Privatization and Aviation Mohammed Mian Soomro had said that several major air operators had shown keen interest in initiating operations to the federal capital.

Among the other airlines, the minister had said, Air France, Norwegian Air, and a Saudi airline had shown intend to begin their operation in Pakistan. He said that ‘ease of doing business’ has attracted foreign airlines to think about starting business from Pakistan.

Read more: Revival of national airline: US govt. will help PIA resume direct flights

Soomro had said that the new aviation policy had been sent to the federal cabinet for approval. “The new policy aims at sustainable growth in the aviation sector by rationalizing charges levied on operators by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and by offering them more incentives to ensure healthy competition for providing more relief to passengers,” Dawn had quoted him as saying.

In the new policy, he had hoped that the rationalization of different financial charges to airlines would attract investors to start domestic airlines in Pakistan. “This would significantly contribute to the country’s economic growth,” he added.