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ISLAMABAD: The first European airline in over a decade will arrive at Islamabad International Airport (IIA) today (Monday) at 9:25am.

A press release issued by the Aviation Division on Sunday said that British Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner will leave Heathrow, London, with 240 passengers on board.

The passengers will be welcomed by Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdur Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Hussain Bukhari, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat and other senior officials from the Aviation Division and the British High Commission.

The same aircraft will depart for Heathrow as BA-260 at 11:10am with passengers on board.

Mr Khan, Mr Dawood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, High Commissioner Thomas Drew, BA Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Brem and Mr Nusrat will hold a joint press conference later the same day.

According to the summer flight schedule, BA will fly three times a week between London and Islamabad.

In his statement, Mr Khan said that the resumption of BA flight operations would be counted a major milestone in Pakistan’s aviation history.

He said the London-Islamabad route would provide direct connections and ease of transport for the Pakistani diaspora in the United Kingdom.

Security arrangements

Unprecedented security will be in place around IIA for the flight’s arrival, including more than 600 police, Quick Response Force units and snipers.

City Police Officer Mohammad Faisal Rana told Dawn that a combing operation around the airport is ongoing, and 350 police personnel will be deployed outside the airport building, in the limits of the Naseerabad police, while 150 police personnel will be deployed in the limits of Attock district.

He said that besides the police department, four snipers will be deployed at hilltops and four QRP units will be positioned outside the airport. Inside, security will be maintained by the Airport Security Force.

Mr Rana said Elite Force units and women police officials, led by Superintendent of Police Syed Ali have been conducting combing and search operations around the airport.

He said during these operations, police teams have been questioning suspicious people living in the surrounding areas.

Traffic wardens have also been deployed to maintain traffic, he said.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2019