London: British Airways has announced that it will resume flights to Pakistan in the summers of 2019. This comes after the carrier suspended flights to Pakistan 10 years ago.
British Airways had halted services in 2008 after the deadly Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad, which killed more than 50 people and triggered a major drawdown by embassies and international agencies over safety concerns.
British Airways had six weekly flights to the Pakistani capital before the Marriott attack. In 2019, British Airways will operate three weekly flights from London’s Heathrow airport to the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
The carrier’s announcement was “a reflection of the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan” in the years since said British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew in a statement.
Britain is home to the largest Pakistani diaspora community in Europe, having more than a million residents of Pakistani origin. After British Airways suspended flights to Islamabad, Pakistan bound passengers became largely dependent on Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates and Etihad. With most international flights routed through the Gulf, traveling from London to Islamabad had become expensive and cumbersome for many passengers.
The announcement caused a stir on Twitter, where it was greeted with jubilation by many Pakistanis, and the Pakistan army tweeted its gratitude to the airline using the hashtag #PeacefulPakistan.