British Airways Goes Head To Head With Virgin Atlantic On Pakistan Flights

British Airways has today announced that it is adding more capacity to the market in Pakistan. The airline will be doubling down on flights to the nation, adding four times a week service to Lahore from its hub in London. This comes less than two weeks after rival British airline Virgin Atlantic announced its own expansion into Pakistan.

British Airways, Boeing 787-10, Delivery
British Airways is adding Lahore from London next month. Photo: Nick Morrish/British Airways

British Airways doubling up on Pakistan flights

British Airways has announced it will be doubling down on Pakistan flights, adding a new destination from October 12th. Flying four times a week from its home at London Heathrow, the UK flag carrier will begin service direct to Lahore in a month’s time.

The flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 in a three-class configuration. Fares start at $657 in World Traveler, $998 in World Traveler Plus, and $1,806 in Club World. Flights can be booked as of now.

It’s the second destination in Pakistan to be served by British Airways after the airline resumed operations in June last year to Islamabad. This followed an 11 year-long hiatus. Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances at British Airways, commented,

“We are delighted to be starting direct flights to Lahore, connecting London with Pakistan’s two biggest cities, following the relaunch of our services to Islamabad.

“Our new flights will give us the opportunity to open up more of Pakistan to travelers from the UK, so they can experience its delights and rich culture. We also think this will be hugely popular with the British Pakistani community, giving them more convenient options to visit family and friends.

“For those customers flying to or from Lahore, our flights have also been conveniently timed to allow seamless connections with flights serving the United States and Canada.”

It will be BA’s second destination in Pakistan since it resumed service there last year. Photo: Heathrow Airport

Why the rush to Pakistan?

The announcement from BA comes just a couple of weeks after rival UK airline, Virgin Atlantic, announced its own expansion into Pakistan. Virgin is gearing up to launch three routes into the country, to Lahore and Islamabad from Heathrow and to Islamabad from Manchester.

Virgin’s routes won’t be taking off so soon, however, as although they went on sale from the start of this month, they are still subject to regulatory approvals. The airline said it plans to start operating the services from December this year.

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VS 787
Virgin Atlantic is also moving into Pakistan later this year. Photo: Boeing

The rush of new services to Pakistan has likely come about as a result of the EASA ban on flights into Europe by Pakistan International Airlines. The airline is banned from flying into the bloc for six months as a result of a scandal involving fake pilots licenses. The airline has said it will not appeal the ban until it has ironed out its internal problems.

However, it is also a good sign that tensions between the two countries have now settled down, and that confidence in the market is high. British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner, commented in a statement,

“The first-ever British Airways flights to Lahore is a sign of confidence in Pakistan, and the deepening ties between our two countries. I hope it will open up even more opportunities for business links, people-to-people ties and tourism.”

Are you pleased to see British Airways expanding in Pakistan? Let us know in the comments.