British airline, Virgin Atlantic, inaugural flight from Manchester received a warm welcome from the government of Pakistan in Islamabad on Thursday.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, and British High Commissioner was present at the Islamabad International Airport to welcome the inaugural flight of Virgin Atlantic.
From 0 flights to 20 flights of @VirginAtlantic to & from Pakistan is indeed a sign of world’s confidence in Pakistan.
Pakistan welcomes the world! #PakistanMovingForward https://t.co/xRv0eqmM9y— PTI (@PTIofficial) December 11, 2020
The airline is expected to start its operations for Lahore and Islamabad from Heathrow Airport from December 13th.
Virgin Atlantic starts its operations in Pakistan pic.twitter.com/DYo2wi8IM0
— Ahtesham bokhari (@ahteshamBokhari) December 8, 2020
Bukhari expressed confidence that resuming the airline would boost tourism and trade ties between the UK and Pakistan. A video of the crew of the Virgin Atlantic celebrating the start of their services to Pakistan appeared on social media. The cabin crew can be seen cutting a cake in a private hotel in Lahore.
In a special video message released the High Commissioner of the UK said that the start of the services of Virgin Atlantic to Pakistan exudes confidence in Pakistan. He added that the development came amid the pandemic coronavirus. He said that since the UK and Pakistan are friends, friends have to uplift each other. He valued the Pakistani-British community living in Britain for years.
Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight lands in Islamabad. 🛬Great new step for our UK&EU based diaspora.
Pakistan is more connected & open for travel & tourism today than it has been in decades.
He said that 18 months ago they had no British carriers flying to Pakistan but now they have 20 direct flights a week between UK and Pakistan.
Turner said that with the start of the services, people will have more options to visit their loved ones, build ties, and boost trade. This will be good for business and tourism.
He added that a year on when he arrived in Pakistan, people had asked him to help them change the perception of Pakistan. Hence, we worked on it and changed the travel advice for Pakistan. Then we saw the return of the England Cricket Team to Pakistan and now British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are flying to Pakistan. He hailed UK-Pak ties in his message.
The founder of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson also thanked the people of Pakistan, the British High Commissioner, the team of Virgin Atlantic to help the airline set-up its operation in Pakistan within record time. He, however, regretted missing flying to Pakistan on its inaugural flight. Branson said that the start of services will support people living in both countries.
Virgin’s chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen also tweeted on the occasion.
“Salam Pakistan We’re thrilled that our inaugural @VirginAtlantic flight from @manairport to Islamabad took off today with services from @heathrowairport to Islamabad and Lahore also commencing this weekend! We can’t wait to take you there. #newbeginning,” said Jarvinen in his tweet.
Salam Pakistan 🇵🇰
We’re thrilled that our inaugural @VirginAtlantic flight from @manairport to Islamabad took off today with services from @heathrowairport to Islamabad and Lahore also commencing this weekend! We can't wait to take you there. 🇵🇰🇵🇰🇬🇧🇬🇧 #newbeginning pic.twitter.com/RNV91rn7s7— Juha Jarvinen (@juhahelsinki) December 10, 2020
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.