Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to launch a new route from Manchester Airport to Islamabad in Pakistan in December 2020.
The new connection aims to meet the growing demand for flights to visit friends and relatives in the UK and US, with Pakistan having the seventh largest diaspora in the world. The Manchester to Islamabad route will also serve business travellers looking to enter new markets in the region as global economies recover following Covid-19, as well as adventurous holidaymakers using the airport to reach the foothills of the Himalayas.
The new Virgin Atlantic flights will also provide an additional cargo opportunity for businesses in the North-west looking to import or export between the UK and Pakistan. The route to Islamabad is the airline’s second service to the Indian subcontinent from Manchester Airport to be announced this year, with flights to Delhi confirmed in February.
Julian Carr, Aviation Director at Manchester Airport, said:
It’s great to see Virgin Atlantic commence services to Pakistan from Manchester Airport.
“It marks the airline’s commitment to the region, with it being its first eastbound service from Manchester and the North.
“We are sure the route will be incredibly popular with the thousands of passengers across our vast catchment that visit Pakistan either for business, or to visit friends and relatives.”
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.
“Pakistan is an extremely exciting opportunity for us – it boasts one of the largest foreign-born populations in both the UK and the US and, as people start to travel to visit loved ones, we’re anticipating the demand to visit friends and relatives will increase post COVID-19. Islamabad is a popular year-round destination and we look forward to welcoming travellers onboard as demand for leisure and business travel gradually increases to the region.”
Alison Blackburne, Acting Head of the British High Commission in Pakistan, said:
Virgin Atlantic starting 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.”
Tickets for the Manchester Airport to Islamabad, Pakistan, flights will go on sale in September 2020 subject to applicable regulatory approvals.