Virgin Atlantic has launched its first flights to Islamabad, Pakistan from Manchester Airport as part of the airline’s continued ramping up of services from the Northern hub.
The first plane servicing this new route took off on 10th December and is one of a number of new Asian routes for the airline. Virgin Atlantic is also launching a service from Heathrow to Islamabad on 12th December, and to Lahore, also in Pakistan, on 13th. Two routes to India will also launch this winter from Manchester Airport.
With a significant proportion of Pakistani diaspora living in the airport’s catchment, the new services will provide vital connectivity for friends and relatives visiting family and loved ones, in addition to serving growing demand for business and leisure travel between Manchester and Pakistan.
As well as flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer a fast, efficient cargo service growing trade volumes between exporters and importers in both the UK and Pakistan. The UK is the largest export market for Pakistan in Europe, transporting high volumes of goods such as textiles, apparel and machinery.
Virgin Atlantic’s new flights to Islamabad reaffirm the airline’s commitment to serving the North of England. Flights to Barbados resumed last Saturday, with other customer favourites such as Orlando, New York and Atlanta restarting from Manchester over the coming months.
In addition to opening new routes from its northern hub, Virgin Atlantic is continuing with its plans to bring its iconic Clubhouse experience to Manchester Airport. Expected later in 2021, the airline’s Upper Class customers and Gold Card members can take advantage of the exclusive space before their flight, which will include a la carte dining, a full service bar and quiet working spaces, allowing passengers to relax and rejuvenate before they depart.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented;
We have missed flying customers from Manchester, our home in the North, so I’m pleased we can continue to mark our return with the launch of our new service to Pakistan. This is our first route launch since the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is an extremely important one for us as we look to reunite families and loved ones.
“Despite the challenges brought by Covid-19, our commitment to Manchester has never wavered. It’s an exciting time as demand gradually returns and we build up flying from the region. Our desire to delight and connect customers flying from the North West continues and we are looking forward to welcoming them back and flying them safely to their favourite destinations. We’d like to thank the British High Commission for their support during our set up phase and also the Pakistani authorities for granting us the approvals to operate this route. We’re delighted that the authorities recognise the importance of this service, enabling vital connectivity between these two great cities”
Karen Smart, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said;
We are pleased to support Virgin Atlantic in launching its first route to Asia from Manchester, and its first service to Islamabad from any UK airport.
“The route will open up a wide range of benefits for the North, strengthening trade ties with Pakistan as well as helping to connect the more than 435,000* people of Pakistani heritage in the region with friends and relatives.
“We continue to work closely with Virgin Atlantic and all of our partner airlines to ensure that the passenger experience is the best that it can be during these challenging times and that the appropriate measures are in place to keep passengers and staff safe.”*according to 2011 Census figures