Virgin Atlantic to fly to Islamabad, Lahore from December

The UK carrier views the service as an air bridge for passengers traveling from the US to Pakistan via London.

The UK’s Virgin Atlantic will operate service from London Heathrow (LHR) to Lahore (LHE) and Islamabad (ISB) in Pakistan from December 2020, and will also launch flights on the Manchester, UK (MAN)-ISB route before the end of the year.

“Pakistan has the seventh-largest diaspora in the world and the new services aim to respond to the large, fast-growing demand to visit friends and relatives from customers in the UK and the US, as well as capturing demand for business travel to the region as global economies gradually recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Virgin Atlantic said in a statement.

“The services will offer seamless, speedy connections and a consistent long-haul onboard experience for customers travelling from destinations throughout North America, including New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Washington (IAD), Boston (BOS) and San Francisco (SFO) via LHR onwards to Pakistan. Connections from European destinations will also be available through codeshare and interline partners.”

“Pakistan is an extremely exciting opportunity for us: it boasts one of the largest foreign-born populations in both the UK and the US and, as people start to travel to visit loved ones, we’re anticipating the demand  to visit friends and relatives will increase post COVID-19,” Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said in a statement.

“Both Lahore and Islamabad are popular year-round destinations and we look forward to welcoming travelers onboard as demand for leisure and business travel gradually increases to the region. We also see a significant opportunity to increase competition in the US–Pakistan market.”

The long-haul carrier—which recently secured creditor support for a restructuring plan—resumed passenger flights in July with an initial service between LHR and Hong Kong (HKG) after a three-month suspension because of COVID-19.

Photo credit: Virgin Atlantic

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