Virgin Atlantic to end Pakistan flights
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Virgin Atlantic is terminating its Pakistan flights later this year as the airline continues to restructure its route network following the pandemic.
Flights to Lahore will end on 1st May whilst flights to Islamabad will continue a while longer, until 9th July.
Virgin confirmed the news to us in a statement:
“It is with regret that we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend our services between London Heathrow and Pakistan. Since commencing operations in December 2020, we have been proud to offer choice for customers travelling between London and Manchester in the UK, and Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan. During that time, we have also provided important cargo capacity, as well as delivering vital medical supplies.
This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we’d like to apologise for any inconvenience caused. We would like to wholeheartedly thank everyone in Pakistan; our customers, teams, partners and the authorities for their support over the past two years.”
Both flights were launched in August 2020 as a way to diversify away from the United States, which didn’t re-open to tourists for another 15 months. The routes catered to the ‘visiting friends and family’ market which remained fairly buoyant during covid.
Virgin Atlantic clearly feels it can use those aircraft more profitably on other routes. As well as forthcoming new routes to the Maldives and Turks & Caicos, two more new routes were rumoured to be on the cards. The Korean press has speculated that Seoul may be one of them – home of Virgin’s upcoming SkyTeam partner Korean Air – with a deal done to get EU approval for the pending Korean / Asiana merger.
The move may also have been spurred by rumours that the EU flight ban of Pakistan International Airlines will soon be lifted. This was imposed following the crash of a PIA flight in Karachi in May 2020, after which it was found that 262 PIA pilots were flying under fake qualifications.
If you are booked to travel after the final flights you should expect to receive an email in the coming days. Virgin Atlantic says it will accommodate customers with a full refund or “where applicable” rebooking.
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As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
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Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard
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You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.
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The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
The Platinum Card from American Express
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Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
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American Express Business Gold
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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)