MIAMI – Virgin Atlantic (VS) has commenced flights to Islamabad, Pakistan, marking the first time VS has flown into the country. The flight, which originated at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) arrived Friday morning at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport (ISB).

Virgin Atlantic uses Boeing’s B787 Dreamliner for this sector. The flight leaves LHR at 12.30 p.m. (local time) Thursdays and arrives at ISB at 1.00 a.m. (local time) on Friday. Flights will also originate at Manchester and North America.

After arriving, the plane received the traditional water canon salute. Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfikar Bukhari and British High Commissioner Christian Turner met the plane on the tarmac.

Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Tourism and Business

Bukhari said, “The arrival of international carriers to Islamabad will boost trade and tourism. It will also help in to enhance trade ties between Pakistan and the UK.”

According to, the UK has the largest Pakistani expatriate community in the world with around 1.6 million people. Turner said the first Virgin Atlantic flight to Pakistan is “a historic moment.” Eighteen months ago, no British airlines were flying to Pakistan. “Today we have over 20 direct flights a week. This is a sign of real confidence in Pakistan.” Turner continued saying that he hopes the new flights will boost tourism and business ties between Pakistan and the UK.

Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented, “We have missed flying customers from Manchester, our home in the north. I’m pleased we can mark our return with the launch of our new service to Pakistan.

“This is our first route launch since the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is an extremely important one for us as we look to reunite families and loved ones.” The UK is the largest export market for Pakistan in Europe, transporting high volumes of goods such as textiles, apparel and machinery.

Alex McEwan, the country manager of South Asia at Virgin Atlantic, remarked that the company is thrilled to bring its award-winning service to customers in Pakistan. “We are confident that passengers will like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.”

Virgin Atlantic will also provide fast, efficient cargo service to help increase the volume of trade between the two countries. The UK is the biggest export market in Europe for Pakistani goods such as textiles, apparel and machinery.

Featured image: British airline Virgin Atlantic Pakistan-islamabad. Photo: VS