It is a sign of the improved security situation in Pakistan that British Airways (BA) has resumed its flights to Pakistan after a hiatus of 11 long years. We welcome this development, as it is a feel good factor. BA resumed operations to Pakistan on June 3. It had suspended operations to Pakistan in September 2008 in the wake of a luxury hotel bombing in Islamabad. British Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner took off from Heathrow airport in London, with 240 passengers on board, and touched down at Islamabad International Airport at 9.15am on June 3. The same aircraft left Islamabad for Heathrow at 11am carrying passengers. The airlines will fly three times a week between London and Islamabad.
Minister for Civil Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari, senior officers of the Aviation Division, and British High Commissioner Thomas Drew welcomed the passengers and the crew at the airport. The British envoy described the resumption of BA flight operation as great. He said they were happy about the better security situation in Pakistan. Stringent security arrangements were in place at the airport at the time of the flight’s arrival. Speaking on the occasion, Zulfi Bukhari said the return of the British Airways was the first step. He said the government would facilitate other airlines to increase international connectivity in Pakistan.
Considering the fact that air travel has increased manifold in the world, Pakistan should not be left behind to get its share in the ever-growing international air traffic. It should facilitate other airlines to fly to Pakistan and at the same time it should also increase the number of destinations for Pakistan International Airlines. But for this the government should set things right at the national flag carrier.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2019.