ISLAMABAD: The British Airways on Tuesday announced that it would resume its operations in Pakistan from June next year with direct flights between Heathrow - London and Islamabad thrice a week.
The airline had suspended its operations 10 years in 2008 due to security reasons.
According to a press release on the airline's website, the route will launch as a three-per-week service, operated on a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with return fares starting from £499 or Rs 89,000.
"Direct flights from London Heathrow to Islamabad’s new airport to start in June," said British High Commissioner Thomas Drew in a video on Twitter. "A further boost to links between the UK and Pakistan, especially on trade and investment."
He said it was an excellent news for both the countries. The links between the United Kingdom (UK) and Pakistan were already extraordinary and the launch was a vote of confidence in the future of those links and of course, a reflection of the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan in recent year.
"We hope that our new route will allow more people from the United Kingdom to experience what a beautiful country Pakistan is," said Williams.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in his twitter message, termed the British Airways' decision an acknowledgment of Pakistan’s continued efforts for peace and elimination of terrorism. He was delighted to learn British Airways would be resuming flights to Pakistan. “Well done & a special thank you to the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew."
Robert Williams, the British Airways head of sales for Asia Pacific and the Middle East, in his groundbreaking announcement said: ”It is exciting to be flying between Islamabad and Heathrow from next year, which we believe will be particularly popular with the British Pakistani community who want to be coming back to Pakistan.”
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfi Bukhar hailed the British Airways' decision to resume flights to Pakistan. It reflected the confidence of foreign countries that Pakistan was a safe and secure place for trade and investment, he added.
He said the British Airways' operation would provide global connectivity to Pakistan for linking with big economies of the world. "Pakistan is becoming less isolated and becoming more connected to the world — and that's the Pakistan we want to see. We want to see a Pakistan that is heavily connected with the world."
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Industries, Abdul Razzak Dawood, also addressed the media and lauded the airline's decision to resume flights to Pakistan.
“I welcome the British Airways back in Pakistan, which would play a role in portraying the better image of the country and to generate more economic and investment opportunities," he added.
Director General of Inter-Services Press Relations Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, in his twitter message, also hailed the decision and thanked the British Airways for reviving its flight operations in Pakistan.
“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,” he said.