Sunday, 6 September 2020

Virgin to try and make money on three new routes to Pakistan

Fresh from the news that Virgin Atlantic is to shed more jobs,  the airline with Atlantic in its name is going to try and make money by launching two new routes.   The airline is planning to start new routes to Pakistan from London and Manchester this December.  

The troubled carrier is going to start services to Lahore and Islamabad from London Heathrow, as well as a service from Manchester to Islamabad. The initial schedule will see the Virgin Atlantic flying four times a week to Lahore and three times a week to Islamabad, whilst the Manchester - Islamabad service will be four times a week.  The new services are aimed at tapping into the lucrative market reconnecting friends and relatives.   

Virgin also hope to connect the Pakistani population living in U.S. with friends and relatives back in Pakistan via London Heathrow.   The routes are all currently subject to applicable regulatory approvals and will offer Virgin's usual fare offerings of Light, Classic, Delight and premium economy as well as Upper Class.       

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented:  "With travel restrictions remaining in place for many destinations around the world, we’re continually evaluating our network, looking at customer demand and where there are opportunities to launch new services.  - Pakistan is an extremely exciting opportunity for us – it boasts one of the largest foreign-born populations in both the UK and the US and, as people start to travel to visit loved ones, we’re anticipating the demand  to visit friends and relatives will increase."

Now is perhaps not the best time to launch routes to Pakistan as the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises British nationals against all but essential international travel, including to a number of regions in Pakistan. Also,  Pakistan is still not on the safe travel corridors list and arrivals into England from Pakistan are required to self isolate for 14 days. 
Alison Blackburne, Acting Head of the British High Commission in Pakistan, said:  "Virgin Atlantic planning to start flights to Pakistan is great news for the hundreds of thousands of people who regularly travel between our two nations, as well as a boost to UK-Pakistan trade links. We look forward to welcoming Virgin Atlantic to this fantastic country".  


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