Kazakhstan’s SCAT Airlines set to begin direct flights between Almaty and Lahore from July 8, 2023. Image Credit: SCAT Airlines

Islamabad: Pakistan and Kazakhstan are set to launch direct flights from July 8, 2023, aiming to strengthen tourism and trade ties, according to Kazakhstan’s Ambassador Yerzhan Kistafin. This initiative seeks to enhance economic, social, and cultural integration between the two countries. The ambassador said that direct flights were crucial for regional economic and trade integration and connectivity.

The introduction of direct flights is expected to boost tourism and trade, as well as strengthen economic and cultural ties between Pakistan and Kazakhstan. With a short duration of just 2 hours, the direct flight is expected to enhance mutual economic relations and facilitate cooperation opportunities in the tourism sector.

Additionally, Ambassador Kistafin emphasized Pakistan’s strategic location, particularly the potential ports in Gwadar and Karachi, which serve as gateways to European and African markets. The new flight to Lahore will increase accessibility and promote cultural exchange, as the city offers significant architectural landmarks and attractions for tourists to explore.

Connecting Lahore with Almaty

To connect Lahore with Almaty, SCAT Airlines will be launching new flights starting from July 8, 2023. The airline will operate two weekly flights every Wednesday and Saturday using a comfortable Boeing 737 aircraft.

This direct flight will connect the cultural capitals of both countries. Lahore, the second-largest city in Pakistan with a population of around 12 million, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, remarkable architectural landmarks, thriving cultural scene, and culinary traditions. Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan with a population of nearly 2 million, is known as the “city of a thousand colors.” It is located in the foothills of the majestic Alatau mountains, in the heart of the Great Silk Road.

Kazakhstan’s SCAT Airlines, the first Boeing 737 MAX operator in Central Asia, operates a fleet of 27 aircraft, including Boeing 737s, 757s, and 767s, as well as the Bombardier CRJ-200.

Pakistan sends first-ever consignment to Kazakhstan via Silk Route

The launch of these new flights coincides with the successful transit consignment sent from Pakistan to Kazakhstan via the Silk Route, strengthening the trade and cultural ties. The first consignment was sent in June 2023 under the Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA), which was signed between Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

The QTTA is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and facilitates trade between the four countries, connecting Central Asia with the Gwadar Port in the Arabian Sea. The newly established transit route aims to reduce trade time and costs between Pakistan and Kazakhstan while opening up regional trade opportunities. Currently, the trade volume between the two countries stands at $219 million, which experts believe is below its potential.