Virgin Atlantic, a British international airline, has announced to start flight operations for Pakistan. The airline announced on its official Twitter handle.
The flights will operate from London and Manchester to Pakistan. According to the initial report, the airline will offer three routes to the passenger: From Manchester to Islamabad, London Heathrow to Lahore, and London Heathrow to Islamabad. The sales will resume from September but flight operations will start at the end of the year — by December 2020.
Virgin’s chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said that “with the travel restriction still in place at several destinations due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re continually evaluating our network, looking at customer demand and where there are opportunities to launch new services”.
We’re thrilled to announce that from December, we’ll be flying direct to Pakistan. We’ll have flights from @HeathrowAirport to both Lahore and Islamabad, plus direct services from @manairport to Islamabad. Flights go on sale in September, and we can’t wait to welcome you. pic.twitter.com/61FS9dkaFb— virginatlantic (@VirginAtlantic) August 27, 2020
The carrier said that the services would 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”.
“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,” said Jarvinen.
“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,” she further added.
“We also see a significant opportunity to increase competition in the US – Pakistan market. Using the strength of our transatlantic 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’s flight operation to Pakistan: a profitable venture?
Dominic Kennedy, managing director at Virgin Atlantic added, “The import and export market for goods between the UK and Pakistan is extremely healthy, so we’re delighted to be offering our cargo customers another prime route with such positive growth opportunities. This is supported by our fast connections over London to Europe, the US, and Africa, and this potential will become even greater as Virgin Atlantic continues to reintroduce more routes and frequencies as part of our COVID recovery plan.”
— Anila Khawaja (@anilakhawaja) August 27, 2020
Meanwhile, British Airways had resumed its flight operations to Pakistan last year. Analysts have dubbed the addition of Pakistan to its routes a lucrative business opportunity for Virgin Atlantic since a huge population of Pakistani expats live in the UK and travel to Pakistan to visit friends and family annually.
Moreover, with the recent travel ban imposed on Pakistan International Airlines by the European Union and the United States’ regulators, international airlines are left with immense opportunity to operate and earn huge profits in the aviation sector of Pakistan. PIA is currently operating partially on UK-Pakistan routes.