In a major vote of confidence from a Western airline a decade after suspending operations due to security fears, British Airways will resume service to Pakistan next summer, the carrier announced Tuesday.
The British airline, which suspended services after the deadly Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad in 2008, will return in June 2019 with three weekly flights from London’s Heathrow airport to the Pakistani capital, said BA officials.
BA had six weekly flights to Islamabad before the Marriott attack, which killed more than 50 people and prompted a major drawdown by embassies and international agencies over safety concerns.
The carrier’s announcement was “a reflection of the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan” in the years since the attack, said British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew in a statement.
“We only fly somewhere when we know it’s safe to do so,” Robert Williams, BA’s head of sales for Asia, told a press conference in Islamabad.
The announcement caused a stir on Twitter, where it was enthusiastically welcomed by many Pakistanis.
The army tweeted its gratitude to the airline using the hashtag #PeacefulPakistan, while the government’s official account declared that the country is a “new investment destination of Asia.”
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse