On Monday, the first flight by the British airline Virgin Atlantic landed at the Lahore International airport from London, reported ARY news. There were 150 passengers on board, who were met with a warm welcome upon landing by the airport staff and the UK consulate.
The first flight of the British airline also landed at the Islamabad airport from Manchester last week. Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, extended his good wishes when the inaugural flight of the British airline landed in Pakistan.
“It is a historic day today as Virgin Atlantic is now flying to Pakistan. 18 months ago we had no British carriers flying here, today, we have over 20 direct flights a week. This is a sign of real confidence in Pakistan. I welcome all the passengers from Manchester today,” expressed Christian Turner in a video from the British High Commission Islamabad.
Khush Amdeed @virginatlantic to 🇵🇰 ! History made – another zabardast news for 🇬🇧& 🇵🇰
Delighted to join @richardbranson in the video message here!
— Christian Turner (@CTurnerFCDO) December 11, 2020
There will be four direct flights from Manchester to Islamabad in a week, operated by Virgin Atlantic.
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.”
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 ex-pats live in the UK and travel to Pakistan to visit friends and family annually.
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
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.
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”.
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”.