Virgin Atlantic is set to start new UK-Pakistan flights from December 2020.
The three new routes between the UK and Pakistan will be:
- London Heathrow to Lahore (4 weekly flights);
- London Heathrow to Islamabad (3 weekly flights)
- Manchester to Islamabad (4 weekly flights)
These direct flights and new services will go start in September 2020 subject to applicable regulatory approvals and will boast Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Light, Classic and Delight offers.
Pakistan has the seventh largest overseas diaspora in the world and the new services aim to respond to the large, fast-growing demand to visit friends and relatives (VFR) from customers in the UK and the US, as well as capturing demand for business travel to the region as global economies gradually recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adventurous travelers will enjoy the UNESCO sights of Lahore, as well as exploring the foothills of the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Himalayas mountain ranges outside Islamabad.
The services will offer seamless, speedy connections and a consistent long-haul onboard experience for customers traveling from destinations throughout North America, including New York JFK, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston and San Francisco via London Heathrow onwards to Pakistan. Connections from European destinations will also be available through codeshare and interline partners.
As well as flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer a fast, efficient cargo service presenting new opportunities for companies looking to export and import goods such as fresh produce and textiles between prime markets in the UK and US, and Pakistan.
Alison Blackburne, Acting Head of the British High Commission in Pakistan said,
Virgin Atlantic starting flights to Pakistan is great news for the hundreds of thousands of people who regularly travel between our two nations, as well as a boost to UK-Pakistan trade links. We look forward to welcoming Virgin Atlantic to this fantastic country.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented:
With travel restrictions remaining in place for many destinations around the world, we’re continually evaluating our network, looking at customer demand and where there are opportunities to launch new services.
“Pakistan is an extremely exciting opportunity for us – it boasts one of the largest foreign-born populations in both the UK and the US and, as people start to travel to visit loved ones, we’re anticipating the demand to visit friends and relatives will increase post COVID-19. Both Lahore and Islamabad are popular year-round destinations and we look forward to welcoming travelers onboard as demand for leisure and business travel gradually increases to the region.
We also see a significant opportunity to increase competition in the US – Pakistan market. Using the strength of our trans-Atlantic services we’re able to offer customers the shortest journey to and from destinations in the US such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington by connecting through London Heathrow.
Virgin Atlantic restarted passenger flying on 20th July after a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently operating flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Barbados and Miami with further routes being added throughout September and October.