BRADFORD: PIA has dropped Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) from its schedule of direct flights to Islamabad. The decision to divert flights to Manchester from next month leaves Yorkshire without any direct services to the sub-continent.

Tony Hallwood, aviation development and marketing director at LBA, called the decision “disappointing”, saying it deprived “one of the largest regional Pakistani and Kashmiri communities in the UK of their local and direct air link to Islamabad.” He added that in the last 12 months PIA has seen a 30 per cent growth in passengers from across Bradford and the Leeds City region and last month LBA had been in talks with the airline to expand services to meet the “significant growth in demand”. PIA runs two flights per week from LBA to Islamabad. Mashhood Tajwar, PIA GM public affairs, said the decision had been taken due to heavy losses being incurred on the route.  He said: “However, to keep the major share of total UK market intact it has been decided to increase flight frequency to Manchester from six to seven - one additional flight from Islamabad per week - which will be served by B-772/773 aircraft thus compensating for the lost capacity at Leeds.”–INP