Monday, 13 January, 2020

Tehran-Islamabad direct flights to be launched in June

Iran and Pakistan are discussing resumption of direct flights between the capitals of the two countries and hopefully the first flight will be launched in June this year, Iranian and Pakistani media reported.

The issue was raised in a meeting between Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoust and senior Pakistani aviation officials in Islamabad Friday, The Pakistani web portal The News reported.

Honardoust said in the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on implementation of agreements and starting direct flights between Tehran and Islamabad by June.

Sources at the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed in August, 2016 that Iran had sought flight permission for its Taban Airline, adding that Iran Air is already conducting flights to Pakistan.

“Iran is a big market and Pakistani goods have a good reputation there. There is a big demand of Pakistani basmati rice in Iran,” the Iranian ambassador said during the meeting. He reiterated that Pakistan and Iran have cultural, historic, linguistic and religious commonalities.

“There are tremendous opportunities to improve the trade relations between the two countries; sanctions have now been lifted by the world powers and Pakistan can capitalise on lucrative incentives offered by Iranian government in sectors like energy, pharmaceutical, auto and information technology,” Honardoust added.

In relevant remarks in late December, Pakistani ambassador to Iran Asif Khan Durrani called for the broadening of trade ties between Islamabad and Tehran.

“There is a tremendous scope to strengthen trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Iran,” Durrani said during a visit to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Pakistani envoy in Tehran was in Pakistan to explain huge trade potentials in Iran for Pakistani businessmen.

Durrani pointed to the hurdles in trade between Iran and Pakistan, and said, “the unavailability of banking channel is one of the biggest reasons of limited trade between the two countries; through exploiting trade and investment opportunities, mutual trade volume could easily touch new heights”.

Durrani invited the Pakistani businessmen to participate in the ‘Aleeshan Pakistan’ exhibition slated for March 4-7 in Tehran, adding that it would provide an opportunity to establish new contacts with their Iranian counterparts, which is essential to boost two-way trade.

The Iranian president and Pakistani prime minister have already agreed to boost trade volume to $5 billion.

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