Islamabad: British Airways has resumed flights to Pakistan as travel restrictions begin to ease thanks to the decline in coronavirus cases in the country. The first flight BA260 arrived at Islamabad airport on August 14 - Pakistan’s Independence Day.
The flight operations commenced with a compulsory mask rule and extra measures in place at airports to ensure the safety of travellers and the crew. All passengers and crew members will be required to wear masks and will have access to hand sanitizers during the flight due to reduce the risk on infection on board, the official statement said.
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British Airways has announced three direct flights a week to and from Heathrow Airport and Islamabad Airport. From Islamabad, the flights would depart on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while those coming from London can avail the flight on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner CMG termed the resumption of British Airways direct flights “a big boost for the hundreds of thousands of travellers who travel regularly between our two great nations”. The revival of flights would especially benefit those whose travel plans were disrupted by the pandemic. Dr. Turner thanked the Government of Pakistan, British Airways and his team for making it possible soon.
Moran Birger, Head of Sales, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, at British Airways, said that the United Kingdom’s flag carrier is pleased to resume flight service between Pakistan and the UK. “We know many of our customers in both countries have been waiting to be reunited with friends and family. We look forward to welcoming them back on board” he said.
The flight renewal is an “important step in reconnecting the trade ties and people-to-people ties between the UK and Pakistan” according to the British High Commission Islamabad. British Airways direct flights restarted after a decade-long hiatus in June 2019. The carrier first flew to Islamabad in 1976.
Other international airlines currently flying to and from Pakistan after the COVID travel restrictions were eased include Emirates, Etihad Airways, Flydubai, Oman Air, Air Arabia, SaudiGulf Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Malindo Air.
Pakistan announced to open all international and domestic flights last week after the country witnessed a record decline in coronavirus cases. Normal domestic flight operations resumed at nearly all airports in Pakistan from August 6 midnight except Turbat, Pangjur, Dalbadin, Zhob, Pasni, Moenjodaro, Nawabshah and Bahawalpur airport. All operators are however required to implement the established guidelines and seek prior schedule approval from the authority.
Pakistan government decided to shut all its land borders and suspended all domestic and international flights in March after the outbreak of the coronavirus.