BRITISH AIRWAYS (BA) today (3) landed in to Islamabad as it began its first service between the UK and Pakistan in 10 years.
Crowds greeted the aircraft in Islamabad as both the Union Flag and Pakistan’s national flag were waved from the cockpit roof hatch.
BA has also officially opened an office in Islamabad for the airline’s local team.
The British airline which stopped its services in 2008 due to security concerns after the deadly Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad.
BA had six weekly flights to Pakistani capital before the bombing, which killed over 50 people.
On board the first flight from London was Andrew Brem, chief commercial officer at British Airways, he said: “Today is a great occasion for British Airways as we resume flights to Islamabad after a decade. The atmosphere on board our state-of-the-art 787 aircraft was spectacular, as was the warm welcome on the ground.
“British Airways has a proud history of flying to Pakistan – we first operated flights to Islamabad in 1976 – and we couldn’t be more excited to be back.”
The international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, said: “The relaunch of British Airways flights between the UK and Pakistan after more than ten years will be a major boost for trade between our two countries.
“It is no surprise that it is an iconic British airline that is the first western airline to fly return to Pakistan, a symbol of the strong and growing relationship between our two countries.”
The British carrier is running three weekly flights from London’s Heathrow airport to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
Flights will run on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, operated using a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner with long-haul economy, long-haul premium economy, and long-haul business class, the company said in a statement.
Pakistan International Airlines had until Monday (3) been the only service with direct flights between the UK and Pakistan.
The UK is home to over a million people of Pakistani origin.
Since the Marriott attack, the South Asian country has been highly dependent on Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates and Etihad.