RAWALPINDI: A four-member team from British Airways (BA) will be visiting Islamabad next week to check that security and handling arrangements are in place before the airline resumes its flight to Islamabad in June 2019 after a 10-year gap.

A senior aviation official said that the BA team- including the directors transport, marketing and security- will visit Islamabad to check if all their requirements have been addressed at the new Islamabad International Airport (IIA).

He said since security is a major issue for the British authorities, the Airport Security Force and other officials have already been intimated about the visit of senior BA officials.

Islamabad is one of the long-haul routes being launched by BA in 2019.

BA had in Sept 2008 suspended all its flights to Pakistan citing security concerns in the aftermath of the Marriot Hotel bombing.

In Dec 2018, the airline had announced that it will be resuming its flight from Heathrow to Islamabad from June 2, 2019. It has expressed satisfaction regarding the improvement in the security situation in Pakistan in recent years.

According to a press release on the BA website, the route will be launched as a three-per-week service, operated on a three-class Boeing 787 dreamliner- the airlines’ newest long-haul fleet that is 20pc more fuel efficient than other aircraft and features large windows, mood lighting and the latest in-flight entertainment.

The British authorities have termed the resumption of BA flights between London and Islamabad as excellent news for both countries.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2019