The first flight of British airline Virgin Atlantic, which departed from Manchester, arrived in Islamabad today morning. According to a press release by the British High Commission in Pakistan, another flight from the capital will take off for London’s Heathrow airport on December 13 and a third will leave Lahore for London on December 14. The airline will operate three routes from Pakistan to the United Kingdom – two from Islamabad to London and Manchester and one from Lahore to London. Pakistan is Virgin Atlantic’s first new route since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Calling it a historic moment, British High Commissioner Christian Turner said, “Our 1.6 million strong Pakistani diaspora in the UK is at the heart of our ties. Eighteen months ago, we had no British airlines flying in Pakistan; today we have over 20 direct flights a week to both Islamabad and Lahore. This is a sign of confidence in Pakistan and will improve people to people links and boost trade. Followed by the change in travel advice and return of England cricket team to Pakistan, it further shows #UKPakDosti.”
The airline will operate the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on all routes from Pakistan, stated a press release, adding that the passengers will be provided with in-flight entertainment including movies and shows in Urdu. Halal food options will also be available. “UK is home to the largest Pakistani diaspora community in the world, with around 1.6 million people. The new Virgin Atlantic services will provide vital connectivity for friends and relatives visiting family and loved ones, in addition to serving growing demand for business and leisure travel,” it noted. Connecting flights to destinations in North America, including New York, Boston and Los Angeles will also be available.