Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced that it will end flights to Pakistan this summer. The UK carrier began operating during the pandemic.
The airline will end its London Heathrow-Lahore service at the start of May, while its London-Islamabad flight will cease on 9 July.
The decision, which was made after a thorough review of the airline’s operations in the country, comes as a disappointment to many travelers.
“Following this review, it is with regret that we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend our services between London Heathrow and Pakistan,” a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that “Since commencing operations in December 2020, we have been proud to offer choice for customers traveling between London and Manchester in the UK, and Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan. During that time, we have also provided important cargo capacity, as well as delivering vital medical supplies.”
The airline had been operating flights between London Heathrow and Islamabad since December 2020, after a 13-year hiatus. The move was widely seen as a sign of confidence in Pakistan’s aviation industry and the country’s economic potential. The former British High Commissioner Christian Turner described the Virgin Atlantic touchdown in Pakistan as “a historic moment” that would further strengthen the friendship between Pakistan and the UK.
The flights were launched to improve connectivity among friends and family since the UK is the largest Pakistani expatriate community in the world with more than 1.6 million people.
The final Pakistan flight dates are:
- LHR-LHE VS364 departs April 30, 2023, at 21:55
- LHE-LHR VS365 departs May 1, 2023, at 12:25
- LHR-ISB VS378 departs July 8, 2023, at 21:55
- ISB-LHR VS379 departs July 9, 2023, at 12:40
Virgin Atlantic operations in Pakistan
- Virgin Atlantic launched flights from London Heathrow to Islamabad and Lahore and Manchester to Islamabad at the height of the pandemic in December 2020.
- The routes were launched when many destinations, including the US, were closed for travel. The Pakistan routes were targeted to capture the visiting friends and relatives market which was one of the first sectors to recover.