Oman Air, the national carrier of Oman, has celebrated its recently-launched flights to Lahore and Islamabad with gala events hosted by the management of Oman Air. In Islamabad, the occasion was held at the Serena Hotel and, in Lahore, at the Pearl Continental Hotel. A large number of VIP guests, including Arab diplomats, society figures and travel and aviation industry leaders attended each of the dinner and cocktail functions.
Commenting on the launch of operations, Peter Hill, Oman Air's Chief Executive Officer, said:
"I am very pleased to finally be able to open this route officially. Lahore and Islamabad represent our 36th and 37th destinations respectively, and Oman Air's second and third destinations in Pakistan, after Karachi.
"This route reflects Oman Air's strong commitment to serving the people of Pakistan and providing a direct route from our country to these cities."
General Sayed Athar Ali, Pakistan's Secretary of Defense, who attended the event in Islamabad, highlighted in his speech that relations between Pakistan's Civil Aviation and Oman Air have reached great heights. General Sayed also commended Oman Air and the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman for their proactive roles in enhancing mutual cooperation between Oman and Pakistan.
His Excellency Mohammad Bin Said Bin Mohammad Al-Lawati, the Sultanate of Oman's Ambassador to Pakistan, said that the addition to Oman Air's network of two new destinations in Pakistan has special significance, as the two countries continue to forge economic ties and enhance cooperation across several fronts. He stated that air transport is an essential facilitator to such alliances.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Philippe Georgiou, Chief Officer Corporate Affairs at Oman Air, said:
"Expansion has been the engine of growth for Oman Air over recent years."
He said that the addition of these two destinations would make Oman Air a pioneer in promoting and enhancing bilateral trade, business and tourism. This was especially the case in view of the strong links between the two countries regarding cultural heritage, historical exchange and the large representation of Pakistan in Oman's labour infrastructure
Mr Georgiou continued:
"The new destinations of Islamabad and Lahore will help to strengthen the bilateral ties. This is considered to be an invaluable move by Oman Air and the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, especially when the airline industry faces difficult times. Indeed, Oman Air has shown great confidence in Pakistan through the addition of these two destinations."
Addressing the guests and media in Lahore, he said that the carrier has added the latest and best aircraft to its fleet. Oman Air recently made aviation history with the first flight to provide both wireless Internet and mobile phone services to passengers.
"We provide cutting edge technology because we want to be pioneers in whatever we do. With our Wi-Fi and mobile phone connectivity package, you are fully connected in the air, just as you are on the ground and I would expect the major carriers to follow quickly," he concluded.