As its fightback from near collapse continues, Virgin Atlantic has announced it will launch flights to Pakistan in December.  

Operating three new routes – from London Heathrow to Lahore and Islamabad, as well as from Manchester to Islamabad – the new services will go on sale next month.

All three are subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

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 from customers in the UK and the US.

The carrier also hopes to capture demand for business travel to the region as global economies gradually recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

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.  

As well as flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer a fast, efficient cargo service presenting new opportunities for companies looking to export and import goods such as fresh produce and textiles between prime markets in the UK and US, and Pakistan. 

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.” 

Virgin Atlantic restarted passenger flying on July 20th after a three-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently operating flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Barbados and Miami with further routes being added throughout September and October.  

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.”