ISLAMABAD: The British Airways has decided to return to Pakistan and resume its flight operation in Islamabad from June 2, 2019. The airline had suspended its operations in Pakistan on September 2008.
“The airline will now resume operations between Heathrow and Islamabad,” Robert Williams, the British Airways’ Head of Sales for Asia Pacific and the Middle East announced in Islamabad on Tuesday.
He was flanked by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bohkari and acting British High Commissioner Richard Crowder.
“This would be the biggest surprise today that I’m here to announce that after almost 10 years, the British Airways will return to Pakistan and will be operating between Islamabad and Heathrow Airport, London from June 2, next year.”
He said it was exciting to be flying between Islamabad and Heathrow from next year. “This, we believe will be particularly popular with the British Pakistani community who want to visit, or be visited by, their relatives.”
On the route, he said, the customers will enjoy the very best in flying, adding that not only it is being operated on the newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, but it will also be landing in the new airport of Islamabad, which opened earlier this year.
“The route will launch as a three-per-week service, operated on a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner – British Airways’ newest long-haul fleet that is 20 per cent more fuel efficient than other aircraft and features larger windows, mood lighting and the latest in-flight entertainment. Return fares start from £499 for World Traveller, £773 for World Traveller Plus and £1,799 for Club World,” he added.
In his message on the resumption of the British Airlines flights, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew said he was delighted to be welcoming the airline back to Pakistan.
“The launch of direct flights by the British Airways between London Heathrow and Islamabad’s new International Airport is excellent news for both countries,” he said, adding that the links between Britain and Pakistan are already extraordinary from culture and cricket, to people, politics and education.
He said the launch is a vote of confidence in the future of those links between the two countries. “It’s of course, a reflection of the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan in recent years. The return of British Airways will give a particular boost to our growing trade and investment links,” he said.
He said the British Airways itself joins an increasing number of British companies doing business in Pakistan and hoped that it will allow more people from the UK to discover Pakistan. “I look forward to using the service myself when flight starts in June”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Razzak Dawood hailed the decision of the British Airlines’ decision to resume its operation and said it is not only reflection of the long lasting relations between the two countries, but also confidence of the British authorities on the security situation.
To a question about lack of cheap passenger service between the new Islamabad airport and the city, he said they would bring the issue in the notice of the prime minister. There is a need for launching cheap passenger service from the airport to the city, he added.
Zulfi Bokhari said the British Airways was coming back after a decade. He said that this was also a huge step and would help the government in attracting more investors in the country due to the better security situation.
“Connectivity is the second major factor. Pakistan is becoming less isolated and becoming more connected to the world. We want to see a Pakistan connected with the rest of the world. After this announcement more UK companies would also be motivated to come to Pakistan to invest,” he added.
DGISPR Major General Asif Ghaffor also took to Twitter to laud the security forces for the restoration of peace and stability in the country and thanking British Airways to reviving its flight operations in Pakistan.