Gulf carriers expand eastwards

6 Nov 2013 by Clement Huang

Emirates and Qatar Airways will expand their services to Pakistan and China respectively.

With immediate effect, Emirates now operates four weekly flights to Sialkot, its fifth destination in Pakistan. Situated around 125 km north of Lahore, the city provides passengers with an alternative gateway to the Export Triangle of Pakistan – the area encompassing Gujrat, Gujranwala and Sialkot.

Emirates' flights from Sialkot connect through the carrier’s global hub in Dubai and onward to key destinations such as the UK, continental Europe and the Middle East.

The Dubai-Sialkot route is served by an Airbus A330 offering a two-class configuration – with 54 seats in business and 183 in economy class.

Emirates flight EK620 departs Dubai at 0415 and arrives in Sialkot at 0820. In turn, the return flight EK621 leaves Sialkot at 0945, and touches back down in Dubai at 1235. Operation days are Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Qatar Airways, meanwhile, will be operating four weekly flights from its hub in Doha to Hangzhou, China, beginning December 20.

The new service represents Qatar's seventh route to China, following the launch of its Chengdu operations two months ago (see here). Other Chinese cities the gulf carrier currently flies to include Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Chongqing.

Hangzhou is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in China, well known for its picturesque scenery. While mainly a leisure destination, its strategic location (being a mere 180 kms from Shanghai) makes it an important manufacturing and logistical hub for China. For a Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Inside China report on the city, see here.

Like Emirates, Qatar's Doha-Hangzhou service will be operated by an A330, and feature two-classes - 24 seats in business and 236 in economy.

It will operate every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and flight QR868 will depart Doha at 0230 and arrive in Hangzhou at 1540. The return leg will see flight QR869 leaving Hangzhou at 2300 before touching down in Doha at 0430, the following day.

For more information, visit and

Clement Huang

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