MIAMI — The first-ever Airbus A380 has landed at Islamabad International Airport with Emirates operating a one-off flight to demonstrate the airport’s capability in handling the double-decker plane.

The flight was piloted by Captain Abbas Shaban, who is the Chief Pilot of Technical Operations for the airline, as well as Pakistani First Officer Qadir Moin.

Flight EK2524 touched down into Islamabad at 12:10 and was met with a ceremonial water cannon salute.

Three Decades Serving Pakistan

Emirates has a 33-year relationship with Pakistan, as the airline has been flying to this destination from Dubai since 1985.

“We are proud to have operated this special A380 flight to Islamabad, the first time ever that our flagship aircraft has landed in Pakistan,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ Divisional SVP Commercial Operations.

“The Emirates A380 is fundamental to our overall strategy, and bringing this popular aircraft to Islamabad represents a significant milestone in our operations to Pakistan,” he said.

The first flight to Pakistan by Emirates was on the Dubai-Karachi rotation back in October 1985.

In the 33 years that Emirates has been in Pakistan, they now operate 71 weekly flights to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Sialkot, and Multan. Emirates also employs over 5,000 Pakistani nationals.

With Islamabad now showing that it can take the A380, Emirates will be able to offer direct flights on its flagship.

“We are very keen to now launch a scheduled A380 service to Pakistan and will continue to work with authorities to make these plans a reality,” affirmed Sheikh Majid Al Mualla.