British Airways (BA) launched a direct route to Lahore, the second-largest city of Pakistan. The airline made the first touchdown at Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE) since the beginning of operations to Pakistan in 1976.
With 214 passengers on board, the British Airways Boeing 787-8 flight, numbered as BA-259, departed from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) on October 12, 2020 and completed the first flight to Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE). The flight to Lahore was made after 44 years since BA had started its operations in Pakistan in 1976.
According to the BA press release, the airline would operate a new route four times a week using its Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Neil Chernoff, the Director of Network and Alliances at British Airways, told that the new route would give the airline an opportunity to open up more of Pakistan to UK travelers.
„We think this will be hugely popular with the British Pakistani community, giving them more convenient options to visit family and friends“, told Chernoff.
The launch of the new route in Lahore follows a repeated resumption of BA services to Islamabad International Airport (ISB). BA suspended all flights to ISB in September 2008, following a suicide bombing at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 260. Shortly after the explosion, the airline declared that it would not compromise on the safety of its customers, staff or aircraft. In June 2019, after more than 10 years break, BA decided to resume direct flights to ISB.
In June 2020, BA suspended the direct London (LHR) – Islamabad (ISB) route for the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic related travel restrictions. However, BA resumed the flights back in August the same year.