RAWALPINDI: British Airways (BA) will resume flights between London and Islamabad on June 2 after a break of around 11 years, with a three flights per week service on the Boeing 787 Dreamline aircraft.
According to a press release issued by BA on Thursday, the airline is starting a three flights per week service to London Heathrow. The final touches are coming together for the airline’s return, ahead of its first flight on June 2, the statement said.
The service will be operated on a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner with World Traveller (long-haul economy), World Traveller Plus (long-haul premium economy) and Club World (long-haul business class) available.
Security preparations for IIA completed ahead of resumption of BA service
The 787 is BA’s newest long-haul aircraft. It is 20pc more fuel efficient that other aircraft and features larger windows, mood lighting and the latest in in-flight entertainment. Lower cabin pressure means that customers step off the flight feeling fresh.
The press release said customers can expect bespoke services to enhance the onboard experience, including a halal meal option in every cabin. The airline will also ensure that sauces in every meal do not contain alcohol or pork. As with any BA flight, customers will also be able to pre-order a range of special meal options, including vegetarian and vegan options.
The airline has a number of Pakistan and British-Pakistani colleagues who speak Urdu, and there has already been considerable interest from them to work on flights.
BA Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Brem said: “The excitement is building as we put the final touches to this exciting route launch. The anticipation from customers and colleagues has been palpable and we hope customers in both the UK and Pakistan will enjoy the classically British service we offer, with thoughtful bespoke touches.”
Aftab Khan, who is one of the crew members operating the inaugural flight, said: “I can’t wait for what will be such a wonderful occasion. To be chosen to operate this flight, with my close family links to Pakistan, is a real honour. I know that my colleagues operating the flight are just as excited.”
The hand baggage allowance on BA’s long-haul flights is one large cabin bag with a small laptop or hand bag, and there will be complimentary food and drinks and online check-in and free seat selection 24 hours before departure.
Return fares between London and Islamabad start from £448 in World Traveller, £709 in World Traveller Plus and £1,499 in Club World. These can be reduced to £248 in World Traveller, £459 in World Traveller Plus and £499 in Club World by using Avios part payment.
Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan also said on Twitter that BA has decided to resume flight operations from Pakistan this year after almost 11 years, with three weekly flights to and from the capital.
Preparations at IIA
All preparations, including outer security for the Islamabad International Airport (IIA), have been completed by law enforcement and other authorities ahead of the resumption of BA flights.
A police team led by a deputy superintendent of police Rawalpindi visited the airport’s outer areas in the limits of the Rawalpindi police and reviewed picketing and deployment. A senior police official told Dawn that a police team visited IIA to review outside security on Thursday, while the Airport Security Force has been looking after the airport’s inner security.
The visiting team reviewed the deployment of police outside the airport to ensure security for passengers and others visiting the airport.
Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2019