Virgin Atlantic To Launch Heathrow – Lahore & Islamabad

Virgin Atlantic will fly from London Heathrow to Islamabad and Lahore from December 2020.

London Air Travel » Islamabad

Virgin Atlantic Logo
Virgin Atlantic Logo (Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic)

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.

British Airways Returns To Islamabad

British Airways is to return to Islamabad after a break of more than ten years.

Islamabad, Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan (Image Credit: British Airways)

London Air Travel » Islamabad

British Airways is to return to Islamabad after a gap of more than 10 years.

BA will fly to Islamabad from London Heathrow Terminal 5 three times weekly from Sunday 2 June 2019.

Flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in a three class configuration.

The capital of Pakistan is located against the Margalla Hills in the foothills of the Himalayas, with nearby cities of Rawalpindi, Taxila and Peshawar a few hours’ drive away.

BA had suspended all flights to Pakistan in September 2008 following the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

In recent years, BA has relied on codeshares with its Oneworld alliance partner Qatar Airways to serve a number of destinations in Pakistan including Karachi and Lahore.

This is a relatively tentative return, given the route used to operate six times weekly with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

It can be said with confidence that BA would not return unless it has been assured that its security concerns could be addressed.

To mark the launch of the route, special fares are available for booking up to Thursday 3 January 2019.

Return fares are available from £499, £773 and £1,799 in World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World respectively.

Outbound travel must start between Saturday 15 June and Tuesday 16 July 2019 or Wednesday 21 August and Saturday 30 November 2019 for travel in World Traveller and Club World.

Outbound travel must start between Monday 5 August and Tuesday 10 December 2019 for travel in World Traveller Plus.

Flights are on sale at

London Heathrow – Islamabad

Flight BA261 Depart London Heathrow 21:15 – Arrive Islamabad 09:55 (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday)

Flight BA260 Depart Islamabad 11:40 – Arrive London Heathrow 16:00 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)