CG Lahore celebrates 1st Lahore-Urumqi resumption flight with cake-cutting ceremony

By Yasir Habib Khan | Gwadar Pro Jun 14, 2023

CG Lahore celebrates 1st Lahore-Urumqi resumption flight with cake-cutting ceremony

ISLAMABAD, June 14 (Gwadar Pro) - To celebrate the first Lahore-Urumqi resumption flight on June 13, a special cake-cutting ceremony was held at Allama Iqbal International Airport. Chinese Consul General in Lahore, Zhao Shiren, cut the festive cake in the presence of dignitaries including Ms. Zhang Xingru, General Manager of the Lahore Office for China Southern Airlines, Nazir Ahmed Khan, COO of Allama Iqbal International Airport, Muhammad Rashid, Additional Director of Airport Security, Safdar Wattoo, Additional Director of the Special Protection Unit, and Chinese diplomats.  

In a post-pandemic development, the first direct flight from Lahore to Urumqi finally resumed after a plane from China Southern Airlines took off from Allama Iqbal International Airport at 9:50 am on June 13 (Tuesday).   

The Urumqi-Lahore route was suspended on January 24, 2020, due to Covid-19 restrictions on the aviation sector. The event marked a significant moment as flights resumed after more than three years from the capital of Punjab, Pakistan to the capital of Xinjiang, China. The flights are scheduled on a weekly basis, specifically on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. 

Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Consul General Zhao Shiren said that after a more than three-year suspension, the inaugural passenger aircraft of China Southern Airlines had arrived at Allama Iqbal International Airport and commenced its resumption flight from Lahore to Urumqi. 

“It is a significant event, and it is also good news for all,” he added. “Lahore, as well as Punjab at large, plays a very important role in Pakistan in terms of population, economic output, and cultural heritage. It has built up a strong partnership and close cooperation with various regions of China. Therefore, the direct flight operation is a necessity, and will inject new momentum into further strengthening people-to-people exchanges, trade, and investment between China and Punjab,” he added.   

He continued, saying, “It will also facilitate business trips for traders, travelers, students, and tourists from both sides by providing them with time-saving and cost-effective flight services.”   

Zhao Shiren acknowledged the tremendous market potential in Punjab and expressed confidence that with the resumption of operations, more residents of Lahore and Punjab will travel to China. He welcomed everyone aboard and assured that the Consulate General is ready to do its best to accommodate in this regard.  

“I hope there will be more direct flights between Lahore and other Chinese cities in the near future. I wish China Southern Airlines’ noble endeavor a great success. I wish each and every one of you present here today the best health and high spirits,” he concluded.     

An official statement from China Southern Airlines to Gwadar Pro revealed that the reopening of the Urumqi-Lahore route will help to strengthen connections and cooperation between China and Pakistan, and facilitate the exchange and interaction between the two peoples. Furthermore, the resumption of flights will also promote cooperation in economic, cultural, and other aspects between the two regions, benefiting local residents and the business community, and has positive significance.  

Various organizations, including the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, traders’ bodies, and associations, warmly welcomed the resumption of flights.

Iqbal Haider, a Lahore-based electronic trader, gave a big shoutout to the upcoming development. “It will save our time, travel budget, and energy,” he said. 

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