After announcing earlier this year that it would suspend flights between London, Lahore, and Islamabad, British airline Virgin Atlantic officially wound up its flight operations at Islamabad International Airport on Sunday. The Civil Aviation Authority released a statement quoting its spokesperson, who confirmed that a Virgin Atlantic flight departed from Islamabad to London’s Heathrow Airport at 8 am on Sunday, marking the end of their service.
Virgin Atlantic initially commenced operations at Islamabad airport in December 2020, offering seven weekly flights. Initially, the airline operated four flights to Manchester and three to Heathrow Airport. However, over time, the airline scaled down its operations, reducing it to just three weekly flights to Heathrow Airport, as per the spokesperson. Despite the reduction, Virgin Atlantic continued to provide exceptional air travel services to customers traveling between Islamabad and London.
Syed Aftab Gilani, the COO/Airport Manager, expressed gratitude to the Virgin Atlantic team for their provision of world-class air travel services. He further expressed hope that Virgin Atlantic Airlines would consider returning to Pakistan in the future, emphasizing the airline’s positive impact during its tenure at Islamabad International Airport.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic explained the decision, stating, “As we continue to ramp up our flying program in 2023, we’ve taken the opportunity to review our entire network and decided to make a few changes.” The spokesperson expressed regret over the difficult decision to suspend services between London Heathrow and Pakistan, acknowledging the airline’s pride in offering travel choices between the United Kingdom’s London and Manchester and Pakistan’s Islamabad and Lahore. Additionally, the airline played a crucial role in transporting essential cargo and medical supplies.
The spokesperson reiterated that this decision was not made lightly and extended apologies for any inconvenience caused to passengers. They wholeheartedly thanked everyone in Pakistan, including customers, teams, partners, and authorities, for their support during the airline’s two-year presence in the country.
While Virgin Atlantic’s departure from Islamabad International Airport marks the end of an era, travelers remain hopeful for the potential return of the renowned airline in the future, fostering continued connectivity and enhancing travel experiences between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.