Virgin Atlantic is starting new services to Pakistan this coming December, aimed primarily at the ‘friends and relatives’ market.
There will be two routes out of Heathrow, to Lahore and Islamabad and a third from Manchester to Islamabad with tickets going on sale this month. (September).
All of Virgin Atlantic’s seating offerings, including Upper Class, will be available on the routes.
Pakistan has the seventh largest diaspora in the world and the new services aim to respond to the large, fast-growing demand to visit friends and relatives (VFR) from customers in the UK and the US, as well as capturing demand for business travel to the region as global economies gradually recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tourists can see the UNESCO sights of Lahore, as well as exploring the foothills of the Himalayas outside Islamabad.
Virgin said: “the services will offer seamless, speedy connections and a consistent long-haul onboard experience for customers travelling from destinations throughout North America, including New York JFK, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston and San Francisco via London Heathrow onwards to Pakistan. Connections from European destinations will also be available through codeshare and interline partners”.
As well as flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer a fast, efficient cargo service presenting new opportunities for companies looking to export and import goods such as fresh produce and textiles between prime markets in the UK and US, and Pakistan.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic said: “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 post COVID-19. Both Lahore and Islamabad are popular year-round destinations and we look forward to welcoming travellers onboard as demand for leisure and business travel gradually increases to the region.
“We also see a significant opportunity to increase competition in the US – Pakistan market. Using the strength of our trans-Atlantic services we’re able to offer customers the shortest journey to and from destinations in the US such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington by connecting through London Heathrow”.
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”.
For further information visit www.virginatlantic.com