British Airways resumes Pakistan flights after a 10-year absence

2019-06-03 13:41
British Airways. (iStock)

British Airways. (iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

British Airways landed back in Pakistan Monday, in a major vote of confidence from a Western airline after suspending operations due to security fears over a decade ago.

The British carrier - which halted services in 2008 following the deadly Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad - is running three weekly flights from London's Heathrow airport to Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

Britain is home to more than a million people of Pakistani origin, making it the largest Pakistani diaspora community in Europe.

"Britain's flag carrier is back. The two countries, so close in so many ways, take a step closer," British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Thomas Drew, said in a statement.

"It is of course tribute to the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan in recent years."

BA had six weekly flights to Islamabad before the Marriott attack, which killed more than 50 people and triggered a major drawdown by embassies and international agencies over safety concerns.

Struggling Pakistan International Airlines had until Monday been the only carrier with direct flights between the two countries.

Since the Marriott attack, the country has been largely dependent on Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates and Etihad, with most international flights routed through the Gulf.

"Usually I take the connecting flights so this was a very refreshing experience and looking forward to going back as well," Sana Khan, a doctor based Britain, told AFP after touching down in Islamabad.

Major international carriers

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific was one of the last major international carriers to cease operations in Pakistan after dozens were killed during a 2014 siege at Karachi airport by Taliban militants.

Pakistan has battled homegrown militancy for nearly 15 years, with tens of thousands of people killed.

But the country has seen a dramatic turnaround recently, with security largely stabilised following several military offensives along the Afghan border and crackdowns on insurgents in urban centres.

Many Western countries continue to have travel advisories in place to warn their citizens of the potential for kidnapping and bomb attacks, especially in areas near the Afghan border.

British Airways's return also comes as Pakistan continues to restrict large swathes of its eastern airspace following a confrontation with India in February, effectively closing off major international flight routes in and out of Islamabad and Lahore headed east while also disrupting Indian flights.

A Pakistani security official said the restrictions would continue until at least June 15.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    british airways  |  pakistan

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.