British carrier Virgin Atlantic says goodbye to Pak skies

Islamabad: Virgin Atlantic has ended its operations in Pakistan with the last flight of the British carrier taking off from Islamabad to London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said that the final flight left from Islamabad International Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport at 8 am (local time).

The British airline began its operations at Islamabad airport in December 2020 with seven weekly flights. The airline initially operated four flights to Manchester and three to Heathrow Airport, the Dawn newspaper reported on Monday.

Later, the airline reduced its services to only three weekly flights to Heathrow Airport.

Virgin Atlantic provided the best air travel services to customers between Islamabad and London, the report said.

“As we continue to ramp up our flying programme in 2023, we’ve taken the opportunity to review our entire network and decided to make a few changes,” a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said.

He expressed regret for taking the “difficult decision” to suspend the services between London’s Heathrow and Pakistan.

“Since commencing operations in December 2020, we have been proud to offer choice for customers travelling between London and Manchester in the United Kingdom, and Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan. During that time, we have also provided important cargo capacity, as well as delivering vital medical supplies,” the spokesperson said.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we’d like to apologise for any inconvenience caused. We would like to wholeheartedly thank everyone in Pakistan; our customers, teams, partners and the authorities for their support over the past two years,” he added.

It was not clear if the decision was linked to Pakistan’s economic woes and their fallout on businesses.