A Historic Year for Pakistan’s Aviation Industry

Within a span of three months, 3 well known international airlines have announced operations to Pakistan. The nation has received the news with great excitement.

Not one, not two but THREE widely recognized International Airlines have decided to start their operations to and from Pakistan this year. This is a historic moment for the Pakistani Aviation Industry as this strengthens international relations and will be beneficial for the tourism sector. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Lion Air all announced their plans to expand their horizons to Pakistan within three months.


On August 27th, Virgin Atlantic dropped the delightful news of the start of their direct flights from London, Heathrow to Islamabad and Lahore. Also, there will be direct flights from Manchester to Islamabad as well! The carrier’s flights are up for sale this month. Virgin Atlantic Chief Commercial Officer JuhaJarvinen showed excitement as he released the news. This is a great decision on the British Carrier’s behalf as Pakistani born UK and US nationals comprise a large number of the total populations of both countries (over a million each). Pakistan is a great decision also because there is a large number of people who travel between the UK and Pakistan and beyond. Furthermore, Islamabad being the capital and Lahore being a popular destination for its cultural heritage, both are in demand year-round destinations. Besides, Virgin is owned 49 per cent by US airline, Delta- benefitting Virgin even more as this will target the Pakistani- US market by providing transatlantic services via Heathrow to popular destinations such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Moreover, after an entire decade, the renowned British Airways began its operations to Islamabad last year in June. However, on September 15, they announced Lahore as an addition to their existing 200 destinations. There will be 4 weekly flights that will be operated by their Boeing 787-8 aircraft. This is the UK flag carrier’s first-ever flight service to Lahore and it signifies a strengthening in the relations between the two countries. During the previous month, and a team of experts visited the Allama Iqbal International Airport to review arrangements after they were granted permission by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) to proceed with their operations to the city. ‘The City of Gardens’ – Lahore is now scheduled to be the second city in Pakistan that British Airways will connect with the rest of the western world; London, US and Canada.

Furthermore, in other news, Indonesian based airline, Lion Air is seeking permission from the PCAA to inaugurate operations between Indonesia and Pakistan. Although the news isn’t official yet, Ambassador of Indonesia Iwan S Amri on Wednesday in a webinar with Pakistani journalists and aviation experts hoped for the negotiations to make early headway. The low-budget airline intends on beginning operations to three major cities in Pakistan. This a great opportunity for the two countries to strengthen their bilateral relations. During the meeting, Ambassador Amri said,
“To contain and fight off the financial downturn the friendly nations through consultations are identifying ways for mutual cooperation for the enhanced sustainable economic activities between them.”
He also stressed on the importance of business and economic relations between the countries and followed to say that “Indonesia and Pakistan must work together for the sustainable trade relations between them.”
Indonesia is a very popular tourist destination as people across the globe desire to spend their summers at the islands and beached of Indonesia. With no current direct flights to the country, tourists have to take connecting flights which is another hassle. This again is a perfect opportunity to expand its relations in the east.


The news of these three airlines has been very thrilling for the nation as it indicates the trust and bonds other countries are developing with Pakistan.

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