“The travel industry on the whole is confident that 2010 will be a better year for the sector,” said Feroze Jamall, Country Manager, Cathay Pacific Pakistan. “In fact, the first three months this year have already proved that,” he added. Talking to chutti.pk about travel trade in Pakistan and his predictions for the coming years, Jamall pointed out that Cathay Pacific ended 2009 on a positive note and made a small operating profit in spite of the financial crisis that has adversely affected the airline industry.
Jamall, who has been overseeing Cathay Pacific’s operations in Pakistan for a while now, also said that despite the various destinations that Cathay flies to -- over 100 destinations worldwide -- Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Australia remain popular among Pakistani travellers. He says people find it surprising that Cathay Pacific does not offer any standard ‘special packages’, something which many airlines across the country, both national and international, regularly offer. The reason for this, he said, is because “we specialise in tailor-made packages that really depend on our clients’ requirements.”
With special focus on Australia, New Zealand, US, Far East and even Canada, the airline believes in providing its clients custom-made packages because “every client has different needs”. Jamall added that most of these requirements are limited by budgetary constraints. Thus, instead of quoting an ‘X’ amount for a particular package which may exceed the budget of the client, the airline designs packages keeping in mind how much the client is willing to spend.
It is perhaps for this reason that the airline remains a popular mode of travel for many people from Pakistan. “We have around 700 passengers traveling from Cathay Pacific every week,” said Jamall. Out of this, about 20 per cent travel via the prestigious ‘J’ (business) class of the airline. Still, new routes are a tricky business for the Pakistani market, given the law-and-order situation. “Lahore and Islamabad are currently under evaluation but unfortunately convincing the head office to expand operations at this stage is a bit difficult,” explained Jamall.
Cathay Pacific Pakistan currently has its offices in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad where reservation, ticketing and baggage services are offered.