British Airways has resumed flights from Britain to Pakistan for the first time in 10 years with the start of a new service to Islamabad.
Crowds greeted the aircraft in Islamabad as both the Union Flag and Pakistan’s national flag were waved from the cockpit roof hatch. British Airways has also opened an office in Islamabad.
Services were suspended in 2008 in the wake of a suicide bomb attack at the Marriott Hotel, which left 54 people dead – but an easing of the security situation as well as customer demand, has prompted the move.
“Today is a great occasion for British Airways as we resume flights to Islamabad after a decade. The atmosphere on board our state-of-the-art 787 aircraft was spectacular, as was the warm welcome on the ground. British Airways has a proud history of flying to Pakistan – we first operated flights to Islamabad in 1976 – and we couldn’t be more excited to be back” said Andrew Brem, Chief Commercial Officer at British Airways
The International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, said: “The relaunch of British Airways flights between the UK and Pakistan after more than ten years will be a major boost for trade between our two countries. It is no surprise that it is an iconic British airline that is the first western airline to fly return to Pakistan, a symbol of the strong and growing relationship between our two countries.
“I congratulate the British Airways team, the British High Commission and the impressive efforts of the Pakistani government for making this happen. We are confident that British Airways will act as a catalyst to bring even more British companies to one of the world’s largest markets.”
Flights will run three-per-week on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from London Heathrow, operated using a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner with World Traveller (long-haul economy), World Traveller Plus (long-haul premium economy) and Club World (long-haul business class).
Customers travelling will be offered bespoke services to enhance the onboard experience including a halal meal option in every cabin, while the airline will also ensure sauces in every meal do not include alcohol or pork. As with any British Airways flight, customers can also pre-order a range of special meal options including vegetarian and vegan options.
BA has a number of Pakistani and British Pakistani staff who speak Urdu, and there has already been considerable interest from these colleagues to work on the flights, said the airline