Virgin Atlantic is to launch two new routes from London Heathrow to Lahore and Islamabad.
The flights will launch in December and will go on sale in September.
Virgin will fly from London Heathrow to Lahore four times weekly and to Islamabad three times weekly.
The airline has not confirmed exact details on aircraft and timings. Virgin will also fly from Manchester to Islamabad.
This decision is likely to be driven in part by the fact that the European Aviation Safety Agency has banned Pakistan International Airlines from flying to the European Common Aviation Area. Although, the Civil Aviation Authority has allowed Pakistan International Airlines to wet lease aircraft from other airlines.
Airlines are currently focused on routes that generate cash. A route such as this should provide sufficient passenger volumes from VFR (Visiting Friends & Relatives) traffic to be cash flow positive.
Also as airlines are unlikely to benefit from a airport slot usage waiver in the winter season, they will need to use their full slot portfolio to avoid forfeiting slots.
BA also flies from London Heathrow to Islamabad having returned to the city in 2019 after a gap of more than ten years. This will increase to five times weekly in September and daily in October. It would be surprising not to see a similar competitive response from BA.