Iran resumes direct flights to Lahore
November 8, 2020 03:51 PM
Resumption of direct flights between Iran and Pakistan would prove to be a major milestone in bilateral ties as a limited number of flights between the two friendly states has always been a major obstacle in the promotion of bilateral trade and economic activity, reported IRNA news agency on Sunday.
The outbreak of coronavirus has led to the suspension of direct flights between Iran and Pakistan, an issue that not only severely affected public travel but also bilateral trade, including economic activities.
However, the governments of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan continued to trade through land routes with full health protocols which paved the way for the resumption of commercial flights between the two countries.
The Consul General of Iran in Pakistan’s city of Lahore has announced that from next week, a weekly flight from Tehran to Lahore and vice versa will be launched by Mahan Iran Airlines.
While speaking to officials of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mohammad Reza Nazeri called the move a new step in helping to develop trade and economic cooperation between Iran and Pakistan.
It is worth mentioning that in mid-July of this year, Iran Air resumed its weekly flights from Tehran to Karachi after a four-month shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The resumption of the flight was welcomed by Iranian and Pakistani businessmen, Pakistani citizens.
The Iranian Consul General speaking at the LCCI said that if someone wanted to travel to Iran, he could reach in less than three hours as a direct weekly flight from Lahore to Tehran would start from next week.
He said that Iranian and Pakistani businessmen had a strong relationship and the two countries along with the LCCI and Iranian Consulate should work more to further reinforce the relationship and cooperation.
Members of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry have welcomed the resumption of the Mahan commercial flight between Tehran and Lahore, describing it as a new opportunity to revive relations between the two countries' economic and trade organizations.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan have great potential of expanding economic and trade relations, but these opportunities have not been well exploited," said Tariq Misbah, Chairman of the Lahore Chamber.
Misbah said the potential sectors where Pakistan and Iran could enhance trade were value-added textile, pharmaceuticals, and rice. Iran is one of the biggest consumers of denim in the region while Pakistani rice has a strong market in Iran.
“There is also great potential for the pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan that can enhance its exports by tapping the Iranian market.”
LCCI Senior Vice-President Nasir Hameed Khan noted, “We are well aware of the fact that the lack of sound banking channels is the prime cause of this low trade volume. Both Iran and Pakistan should collaborate to devise a specialized mechanism for enhancing trade.”
He said that the presence of an Iranian financial institution in Pakistan could greatly help in that regard. “It is also high time for both countries to make progress in barter trade mechanism for facilitating trade,” he added.