"I see this launch as a vote of confidence in the security situation in Pakistan in recent years."
British Airways is to again provide direct flights between the UK and Pakistan as a direct result of the improved security situation in the Asian country. Flights between London and Islamabad will be the first since 2009, after the bombing of The Marriott hotel in the Pakistani capital led Britain’s national airline to cease services between the two countries.
Calling the link between the UK and Pakistan as “pretty extraordinary”, British Airways said that next year’s three-per-week flights would likely bring with it a welcome boost to trade and investment for both regions.
The news of direct flights will likely be greeted with open arms by those visiting the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, with just one – Pakistan International Airlines – currently doing the journey between the countries uninterrupted. Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong-based airline, also called an end to services for similar reasons in 2014 after 38 people were killed by Taliban militants in Karachi.
Commenting on the London-Islamabad service, Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, spoke of his delight that British Airways would be restoring the links back to Pakistan. “I see this launch as 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 years. The return of British Airways will give a particular boost to our trade and investment links,” said Drew, adding that it was his hope that more people would visit and see for themselves what a beautiful country Pakistan is.
Since flights were last served by British Airways, a change has been made to the Pakistani capital’s main terminal, which was formerly Benazir Bhutto International Airport – named after the former prime minister that was assassinated in 2007. This year, a little over ten years after her death, Pakistan elected the politician and former international cricketer Imran Khan to the post of prime minister.
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