British Airways landed in to Islamabad as it began its first service between the United Kingdom 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.
British Airways has officially opened an office in Islamabad for the airline’s local dedicated team, which is testament to the investment the airline is making in the country.
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 10 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.
“I congratulate the British Airways team, the British High Commission and the impressive efforts of the Pakistani government for making this happen.
“We are confident that British Airways will act as a catalyst to bring even more British companies to one of the world’s largest markets.”
Flights will run three-per-week on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from London Heathrow, operated using a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner with World Traveller (long-haul economy), World Traveller Plus (long-haul premium economy) and Club World (long-haul business class).
Customers travelling can expect bespoke services to enhance the onboard experience including a halal meal option in every cabin, while the airline will also ensure sauces in every meal do not include alcohol or pork.
As with any British Airways flight, customers can also pre-order a range of special meal options including vegetarian and vegan options.
The airline has a number of Pakistani and British Pakistani colleagues, who speak Urdu, and there has already been considerable interest from these colleagues to work on the flights.
British Airways’ long-haul flights include extremely generous hand baggage allowances – one large cabin bag with a small laptop or handbag – complimentary food and drink, online check-in and free seat selection 24 hours prior to departure.
Customers landing in to London can connect on to British Airways’ network, which includes over 30 destinations across North America, with over 70 flights per day to the US through the airline’s joint business with American Airlines. Customers can also connect to over 30 countries in Europe.
British Airways is amid a £6.5 billion investment for customers, including the installation of the best quality Wi-Fi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft.