Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced plans for three new routes to Pakistan in December, as the struggling British airline continues its fight for survival during the Covid-19 downturn. Flights from London Heathrow to Lahore and Islamabad will be operated four and three times a week respectively, while Islamabad will also be served four times weekly from Manchester.
Travel options were also curtailed this summer when Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was banned from European skies due to concerns about pilot training. The news comes as a win-win for both the British airline, which was nearing a total collapse, and the Pakistan’s large diasporas which ran out of options after the PIA ban.
In a statement, the airline said Pakistan had the seventh largest diaspora in the world and the new services were aimed at assisting overseas Pakistanis in the UK and the US desiring to visit friends and relatives back in Pakistan.
In the UK, customers can book flights to Pakistan from London or Manchester while in the US, the airline will operate flights to Pakistan from New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston and San Francisco via London.
“These direct flights and new services will go on sale in September 2020 subject to applicable regulatory approvals,” the statement said. “Connections from European destinations will also be available through codeshare and interline partners.”
Alongside passenger flights, the airline has also announced cargo service to facilitate companies intending to export and import goods between Pakistan and markets of the UK and the US.