Virgin Atlantic touched down in Islamabad from Manchester on 11th December for the very first time. The airline follows this up with new routes departing from Islamabad to London Heathrow on 13th December and departing from Lahore to London Heathrow on 14th December.
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, while also serving the growing demand for business and leisure travel.
Virgin Atlantic will operate the state of the art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on all routes from Pakistan, offering the upper class, premium and economy cabins. Passengers will be able take advantage of over 1,000 hours of in-flight entertainment, which includes a selection of Urdu films and TV programmes. It will also offer Halal food options for customers along with its award-winning service.
The airline is to provide seamless connectivity via London Heathrow to North America, offering speedy connections to destinations such as New York JFK, Boston and Los Angeles. It is to proffer onward connectivity alongside its transatlantic joint venture partner, Delta Airlines, to more than 200 destinations within North America.
Moreover, Virgin Atlantic will offer a fast, efficient cargo service. This will enable growing trade volumes between exporters and importers in both the UK and Pakistan. The UK is the largest export market for Pakistan in Europe, transporting high volumes of goods such as textiles, apparel and machinery.
Alex McEwan, Country Manager of South Asia at Virgin Atlantic, said:
“We are thrilled to bring our award-winning service to customers in Pakistan. We are confident that passengers will love flying with us on our cutting-edge Boeing 787 Dreamliner to London Heathrow, Manchester and beyond to North America. Our services will promote trade and provide vital connectivity between UK and Pakistan, enhancing already close ties. It has been a monumental effort to enable our set up in Pakistan, and I would like to thank the British High Commission and the Pakistan authorities for their unwavering support’.
Dr Christian Turner, British High Commissioner Islamabad, regards this as ‘historic’.
“Virgin Atlantic’s arrival in Pakistan for the first time is a historic moment. Our 1.6 million strong Pakistani diaspora in the UK is at the heart of our ties. 18 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.” he said.