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British Airways to launch flights to Lahore, increases Islamabad frequencies

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Last month, Virgin Atlantic announced a new route to Lahore in Pakistan. This was to be the first Lahore service from London Heathrow.

The airline also announced plans to go up against British Airways on the Heathrow to Islamabad route, as well as launching Manchester to Islamabad.

British Airways is now fighting back.

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X

BA announced its own Heathrow to Lahore service yesterday. There will be four flights per week from 12th October. It will be operated with a Boeing 787-8 so you won’t get the new Club Suite business class seat.

BA is also turning up the heat on Islamabad. Flights have quietly been increased to daily, starting this week. It was not meant to go daily until October.

Pakistan International Airways was recently blocked from flying to EU and UK airspace after it was found that over 30% of its pilots held fraudulent licences. It recently re-launched services to Birmingham and Manchester by wet leasing an aircraft from Hi-Fly. This meant that PIA did not have to use its own pilots or crew. BA and Virgin have a clear run at the London market.

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Comments (30)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Mike says:

    “Lahore and Islamabad” are I think the last two places I would wish to visit

    • BSI1978 says:

      ….and why’s that Mike?

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Friends and family destinations only obviously

      • Paul Pogba says:

        From the Foreign & Commonwealth Office:

        “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Pakistan”.

        “Further attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Previous methods of attack have included grenades, shootings, bombings and suicide bombs. Militants can launch complex and deadly attacks”.

        “Foreigners, in particular westerners, may be directly targeted. Densely populated and unsecured areas, such as markets, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, airports, public transport, schools and educational institutions are potential focal points for attacks.”

        “Public demonstrations are common in Pakistan. Protests can occur with little warning and while most remain peaceful, they can turn violent quickly”.

        “The Pakistan authorities currently advise that “all foreigners, including diplomats may not move out of their city of residence without proper security and without prior co-ordination with the law enforcement agency”.

        “You should exercise care in selecting accommodation and take precautions to maintain safety and keep a low profile.”

        “Lahore is the capital of Punjab province, and attracts large numbers of tourists and business travellers. While the city has a widespread police presence, there have been a number of terrorist attacks in recent years”.

        “Avoid using the railway network, which has been subject to frequent attacks and derailments. There have been attacks on railway stations in Punjab, and militants have planted bombs on the rail network in Balochistan and Sindh.”

        “Road conditions can be poor and there is a risk of carjacking”.

        “For security reasons, you should avoid using public transport, including the Metro Bus which operates between Rawalpindi and Islamabad”.

        I could go on but none of these are things I want to experience during my time off.

        • Zed says:

          And this is what the FCO says about USA:

          “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the USA. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should monitor media reports and remain vigilant at all times.

          You should be alert to the dangers of car and street crime….

          There have been widespread protests across the USA since 27 May 2020, some of which have turned violent. Curfews have been enforced in many cities as a result. There is potential for further protests and curfews. You should follow the instructions of local authorities. If you do attend any peaceful protests, you should be mindful of your surroundings and move away if there are signs of trouble.

          A number of unprecedented large-scale wildfires are burning across the West Coast states of the USA. California, Oregon and Washington have been particularly badly hit and currently are under a state of emergency. See the Californian Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website for a detailed fire incident map. Incident maps for Oregon and Washington can be found on the Northwest Interagency Coordination Centre website. Fires are also burning in Montana, Idaho and Alaska on a smaller scale….

          Hurricane Sally made landfall in the early hours of Wednesday 16th September over south-eastern Alabama and Florida. The hurricane is expected to move in to Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Because Hurricane Sally is slow-moving, a very significant amount of rainfall is expected, including storm surge in coastal areas and heavy inland flooding – which will affect areas already impacted by recent storms. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms on the US National Hurricane Center website and follow instructions issued by the local authorities, including any evacuation orders….

          • Paul Pogba says:

            On the other hand the US isn’t xenophobic:
            “Local laws reflect the fact that Pakistan is a Muslim country. You should respect local traditions, customs and laws at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend.”

            “Homosexuality is illegal”.

            And outside of Utah doesn’t have the death penalty for blasphemy:
            “The death penalty can and has been imposed for crimes including blasphemy”.

      • cinereus says:

        Because he’s an scaredy cat.

        What a shame to miss out on the amazing food and culture because you’re so ignorant.

    • Rhys says:

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I actually rather fancy a trip to Lahore!

    • Urty says:

      Yes Mike, why? Don’t be shy now.

  • Mike Lo says:

    Pakistan really does have some fantastic Mughal architecture, wonderful hospitality, good food and the big cities are pretty progressive. Went to a wedding a few years ago, it was fabulous.

  • roberto says:

    I was in Mumbai in Febuary. When CV19 kicked off in Europe I knew it would be bad if it ever got there as social distancing is just not possible. That with the poverty and sanitation issues tended me to believe that the numbers would be huge. Fast forward 6 months to today and thats proven so.

    Whilst Pakistan is a different country I see the same warning markers there and fail to see why the UK would want to risk allowing the possibility of importing the virus. I appreciate there is a freinds and family market but cant see a huge take up and wonder if its just Ba squeezing Virgin’s income stream.

      • roberto says:

        I fail to understand that. More likley its the opposite thats true and its just as much of a problem there as it is in India. Pakistan like India sufferers with too many people getting paid daily and therefore the need to earn/eat outweighs everything else for millions of people.

        • Alekun says:

          Reading too much Daily Fail and also how does the way ppl earning on a daily basis a way of Corona spreading. It similar to ppl in the UK earning on zero hour contracts just about enough to cover the home element of cost and go hungry just to keep a roof over their heads.
          In regards to importation of corona if the UK themselves can’t have a world beating test and trace system how can we ask other countries to fix up their own corona issues?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      When you say problem do you mean the actual problem or what’s reported?

      As if you were to believe the reports per million capita they are doing rather well …

  • Sam says:

    Why are neither of BA or Virgin looking at Karachi…

    • Journeying John says:


    • Nick says:

      How do you know they’re not looking at it? Just because it hasn’t been announced, doesn’t mean they haven’t looked at it!

      I’m with Rhys, I’d love to go to Pakistan. The mountains are supposed to be beautiful, and everyone who’s been has said it’s one of the most welcoming countries in the world. Hopefully they can push it for tourists as well as VFR.

      • Sam says:

        Erm Nick, maybe because neither of them are flying there or intending to fly there!

        My sister actually did a tour of the northern parts of Pakistan with a tour guide, there were a group of them. She described those parts as the “Asian Switzerland” in terms of mountains and landscapes and she has been to Switzerland a number of times! I’m hoping to visit Pakistan soon too!

        • Jeff says:

          Having been to both, I personally don’t think there is any comparison between Switzerland and the mountains in Pakistan. Switzerland whilst obviously scenic, completely dwarfs in the majesty that is the Himalayas. Honestly once you’ve done the northern parts of Pakistan, no other mountain experience even comes close to the experience and grandeur. The scenery is just out of this world (google ‘hunza valley’ and check out the images). Plus the locals in Pakistan will go out of their way to make you welcome – exceptionally hospitable.

    • Novice says:

      When I asked this same question from a Pakistani friend, his answer was; ‘Karachi is the highest risk city in terms of security issues due to gangs running the show in the city’…

      Lahore is the culture city and Islamabad is apparently the modern city due to being the capital.

      I’ve not personally been myself but would love to go as they have a region with beautiful lakes, mountains, scenery and also Kashmir that’s the free part. Also, the architecture in some places is nice I think from the same dynasty that had Taj Mahal built.

      • Rizwan says:

        Hi Nvoice i am not sure why your Pakistani freind said this about Karachi, Gangs running the show , he definately does not have a clue whats he is talking about , Its the biggest city in Pakistan with more then 70% economic revenue generated for the whole country as its a port city , some parts would have security risk but thats about it . But a statement that Gangs run the show is totally incorrect . A lot of Vlogs are shared on youtube by Different Vloggers about thier visit.
        I am just passing some information .

  • Urty says:

    I think it’s great news, I’ve never been and would love to go. It certainly has some beautiful sites there would be nice and hot during our winter.

  • Zed says:

    My in-laws live in Islamabad so we take the kids to visit the grandparents annually. It’s very safe in my experience, especially with the current government putting in measures and policies to encourage a return to tourism and international sports. People are known for their hospitality and there are numerous tourist places to see and scenic spots. Islamabad is my preferred choice as the weather is a little cooler, it’s a lot greener and generally quieter. Lahore is a food, nightlife and cultural city, but balance that with the heat and the dust at times, plus a lot of traffic. It’s also close to the border with India if you fancy catching both army rangers putting on a spectacle each day

  • Binks says:

    Pakistan is a beautiful country, wish a lot of hairy and beautiful natural scenery you cannot find anywhere else in the world. People are super hospitable and weather is awesome. Tourist industry is developing and is a must visit destination for anyone with an open mind.

    I’m looking forward to using my virgin points flying upper class to Lahore! Anyone staying in Lahore try the Pearl Continental (5 star) for a lovely place to stay.

  • Binks says:

    *with a lot of history

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