Tuesday, 18 December 2018

British Airways to return to Pakistan after a break of 10 years

It has been confirmed that the UK's British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan in June next year, following a decade of not flying to the country.

British Airways took the decision to stop flying to Pakistan in 2008 following a high-profile attack on the Marriott Hotel in the capital, Islamabad, where some BA staff had stayed. Around that time there had been a number of incidents of Islamist militant violence and attacks on Europeans.

Security has been improved in recent times and a more positive attitude has taken over the country in political circles, which has been crucial for British Airways to be the first major European airline to return to the country.  Indeed, the Deputy British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Richard Crowder told the media, “an improvement in the security environment in this country” was the main reason the UK's flag carrier could return to Pakistan.


“Once it gets around the world that British Airways has put its stamp of approval on Pakistan, it will put us one or two notches up as a country to do business with,” said the hopeful Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.

Prime Minister Imran Khan special assistant Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari said “British Airways coming back after a decade shows you where we were and how far we have come. - Pakistan is becoming less isolated and more connected to the world, and that’s the Pakistan we want to see.”

Various carriers have returned to the country in recent years, including Turkish Airlines, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Air China and Emirates.  The new British Airways service will start on 2nd June, three times each week operated on a Boeing 787 aircraft.

Robert Williams, Head of Sales for Asia Pacific and the Middle East, said: “It’s exciting to be flying between Islamabad and Heathrow from next year, which we believe will be particularly popular with the British Pakistani community who want to visit or be visited by, their relatives. On the route, customers will enjoy the very best in flying. Not only is it being operated on our newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, but it will also be landing in to the new airport in Islamabad, which opened earlier this year.”

Thomas Drew CMG, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming British Airways back to Pakistan. The launch of direct flights by British Airways between London Heathrow and Islamabad’s new International Airport is excellent news for both countries."


Timetable
Outbound (LHR-ISB)
Day of operation
Local departure time
Local arrival time
Tuesday
9.15pm
9.55am
Thursday
9.15pm
9.55am
Sunday
9.15pm
9.55am
Inbound (ISB-LHR)
Day of operation
Local departure time
Local arrival time
Monday
11.40am
4pm
Wednesday
11.40am
4pm
Friday
11.40am
4pm
Islamabad is one of four long-haul routes being launched by British Airways in 2019, its centenary year. The airline is also launching direct flights to Pittsburgh and Charleston in the US and Osaka in Japan, alongside several short-haul routes.
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