News Desk |
British Airways’ first flight landed at the Islamabad International Airport (IIA) on Monday after its operations were halted for just over a decade ago. The media reported that Flight No. BA-261 carrying 240 passengers via Boeing 787 Dreamliner, touched down at 9:25 am.
The same aircraft departed for Heathrow at 11:10 am, the media said, adding that the British Airways will fly thrice a week between Heathrow and Islamabad during the 2019 summer.
Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Hussain Bukhari and senior officials of the Aviation Division and the British High Commission welcomed the passengers at the IIA.
After the British Airways re-launched its flight operations, several foreign airlines have shown interest in launching their services from Pakistan.
Later in the day, a press conference is scheduled to be held with Khan, Dawood, Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan along with British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, Chief Commercial Officer British Airways Andrew Brem, and the aviation secretary.
Improved Security Situation led to British Airways Return
British High Commissioner Thomas Drew has said the airline’s resuming operations is a testament to Pakistan’s improving security situation.
In a video message via Twitter, the British envoy said that “this is a big day for the UK and Pakistan as the first flight of British Airways new direct service takes off from London’s Heathrow, headed here to Islamabad.”
— Thomas Drew (@TomDrewUK) June 2, 2019
Drew said that “Britain’s flag carrier is back, the two countries are already so close in so many ways and this will only bring us closer.” Reportedly, he said that British Airways is the first European airline to return to Pakistan after more than 10 years. “This flight is a symbol of the extraordinary links between our two countries, from commerce culture and cricket to people politics and education,” he said.
“I see this new service as a vote of confidence in the future of those links it will give a particular boost to trade and investment,” the top diplomat was quoted as saying.
A big day for the UK and Pakistan. @British_Airways first flight on its new direct service to Islamabad takes off from London Heathrow this afternoon. It can look forward to a warm welcome when it lands here tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/S18Jr27QXW
— Thomas Drew (@TomDrewUK) June 2, 2019
More Foreign Airlines to Launch Operation from Pakistan Soon
After the British Airways re-launched its flight operations, several foreign airlines have shown interest in launching their services from Pakistan. The international airlines will provide a convenient connection between the large Pakistani diaspora present in different regions.
In the new policy, he had hoped that the rationalization of different financial charges to airlines would attract investors to start domestic airlines in Pakistan.
In March, the Federal Minister for Privatization and Aviation Mohammed Mian Soomro said that several major air operators have shown keen interest in initiating operations to the federal capital.
Among the other airlines, the minister had said, Air France, Norwegian Air, and a Saudi airline have shown intend to begin their operation in Pakistan. He said that ‘ease of doing business’ has attracted foreign airlines to think about starting business from Pakistan.
Soomro had said that the new aviation policy had been sent to the federal cabinet for approval. “The new policy aims at sustainable growth in the aviation sector by rationalizing charges levied on operators by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and by offering them more incentives to ensure healthy competition for providing more relief to passengers,” Dawn had quoted him as saying.
In the new policy, he had hoped that the rationalization of different financial charges to airlines would attract investors to start domestic airlines in Pakistan. “This would significantly contribute to the country’s economic growth,” he added.