ISLAMABAD             -        British Airways announced it will resume flight operations to Pakistan from the UK, signalling the continued importance of ties between the two countries.

The airline said it would start direct flights three times a week to and from Heathrow Airport and Islamabad.

The first flight will land in Islamabad on 14 August, and will be taking extra precautionary measures for the safety of its crew and passengers.

The announcement is another important step in reconnecting the trade ties and people-to-people ties between the UK and Pakistan, said a British high commission statement. Due to COVID-19, passengers will be required to wear masks and will have access to hand sanitisers during the flight.

Crew members will wear masks during the flight. There are also extra measures in place at airports to ensure travellers stay safe. The British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner CMG, said this was an important moment for UK-Pakistan links. “The resumption of British Airways direct flights is a big boost for the hundreds of thousands of travellers who travel regularly between our two great nations, many who have had their travel plans disrupted by the pandemic. I would like to thank Government of Pakistan, British Airways and my team in Pakistan who have worked hard to deliver this welcome news,” he added.

Moran Birger, Head of Sales, Asia Pacific and the Middle East at British Airways, said: “We are pleased to once again provide a 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 onboard.”

British Airways direct flights restarted in June 2019 after a break of 10 years. The carrier first flew to Islamabad in 1976. From London Heathrow the flights will be on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, departing at 20:30 and arriving in Islamabad at 04:20. From Islamabad flights will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, departing at 06:15 and arriving in London at 15:00.