Since it was founded in 1984, Virgin Atlantic Airways has become one of the world’s leading
airlines serving the world’s major cities. Now, Virgin Atlantic is eying expansion into Pakistan as it communicated plans to add three new routes to the country.
Operating three new routes from London Heathrow to Lahore, London Heathrow to Islamabad, as well as from Manchester to Islamabad; these new services will go on sale in September 2020 subject to applicable regulatory approvals, and will boast Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Light, Classic and Delight offering.
Virgin Atlantic’s fleet comprises of 45 aircraft, including seventeen Boeing 787-9s and ten Airbus A330-300s.
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 (VFR) 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. Adventurous travellers will enjoy the UNESCO sights of Lahore, as well as exploring the foothills of the Himalayas outside Islamabad.
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, Washington, Boston and San Francisco via London Heathrow onwards to Pakistan. Connections from European destinations will also be available through codeshare and interline partners.
The airline tweeted, “We’re thrilled to announce that from December, we’ll be flying direct to Pakistan. We’ll have flights from @HeathrowAirport to both Lahore and Islamabad, plus direct services from @manairport to Islamabad. Flights go on sale in September, and we can’t wait to welcome you.”
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented:
“With travel restrictions remaining in place for many destinations around the world, we’re continually evaluating our network, looking at customer demand and where there are opportunities to launch new services.”
“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. Both Lahore and Islamabad are popular year-round destinations and we look forward to welcoming travellers 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. Using the strength of our trans-Atlantic services we’re able to offer customers the shortest journey to and from destinations in the US such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington by connecting through London Heathrow”.
Alison Blackburne, Acting Head of the British High Commission in Pakistan, said:
“Virgin Atlantic planning to start flights to Pakistan is great news for the hundreds of thousands of people who regularly travel between our two nations, as well as a boost to UK-Pakistan trade links. We look forward to welcoming Virgin Atlantic to this fantastic country”.
Flights to Pakistan are on sale later this year. For further information visit Virgin Atlantic’s Pakistan page
Cover Photo: Virgin Atlantic