British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – British Airways (BA) will resume flights to Pakistan next week a decade after it suspended operations following a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart flights to the South Asian country.
BA halted service to Pakistan from 2008 in Islamabad. “The final touches are coming together for the airline’s return ahead of the first flight on Sunday June 2,” British Airways said in a statement. It will launch a three-per-week service to London Heathrow, it said.
“We’re on board,” Pakistani Civil Aviation spokeswoman Farah Hussain said about the flights resumption. BA, which is owned by Spanish-registered IAG, will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
At present, only loss-making national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies directly from Pakistan to Britain, but its ageing fleet of planes is a frequent source of complaints by passengers.
Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have a strong presence in Pakistan and have been eating into PIA’s dwindling market share. Turkish Airlines also lays on a regular service to Pakistan.
“We hope customers in both the UK and Pakistan will enjoy the classically British service we offer, with thoughtful bespoke touches,” Andrew Brem, Chief Commercial Officer at British Airways, said in BA’s statement.
BA said there will be a halal meal option in every cabin and the airline would also ensure sauces in every meal do not contain alcohol or pork.
DG ISPR hails British Airways for reviving flight operations in Pakistan
Earlier, Inter-Service Public Relation (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor hailed British Airways for reviving flight operations in Pakistan.
In his tweet – while thanking the British Airways – the ISPR DG remarked that the dividends of decades long struggle of Pakistani nation and its security forces for restoration of peace and stability in the country are on the way.
“The dividends of decades long struggle of Pakistani nation and its security forces for restoration of peace and stability in the country are on the way. Thanks to @British_Airways for reviving its flight operations in Pakistan,” Asif Ghafoor tweeted.