British Airways suspending its Lahore-Heathrow flight operation

British Airways (BA) has announced to discontinue its flight operations from Lahore, Pakistan to London, Heathrow from February 27, 2022, only 16 months after it began, although it’ll still serve Islamabad.

According to the details, BA has stopped booking for the Lahore-Heathrow route, and its website does not show any bookings beyond February 2022. An aviation reporter, Tahir Imran Mian, has also tweeted about the matter.

“British Airways to stop Lahore flights just after 16 months,” Tahir Imran tweeted on Sunday. He added that a recent visit to the airport by the officials of the British flag carrier could be a key factor behind this decision.

It is to be noted that Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport has been a mess of late due to the construction of its main runway. Moreover, flights have been regularly delayed and canceled due to the prevailing weather conditions in the provincial capital.

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In another tweet, the journalist hinted that another British carrier, Virgin Atlantic, might also pull out of Lahore.

“The reverse of “Tabdeeli” widely celebrated by Youthias mean that Virgin Atlantic might also pull out of Lahore. This is also doesn’t bid well for other aspirants who every other day we hear about. But this will help Pakistani airlines who this govt tried their best to destroy,” he tweeted.

British Airways started its four days a week flight schedule on October 14, 2020, followed two months later by Virgin Atlantic.

Heathrow to Lahore operates outbound on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and inbound on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. It uses 214-seat B787-8s, especially good for lower-premium routes, and has the following schedule (all times are local). It competes head-to-head with a four-weekly Virgin Atlantic offering.

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BA ending Lahore comes as the carrier shifts Islamabad from Heathrow to Gatwick on March 27th, although it’ll operate once-daily – more often than from Heathrow. BA will use high-capacity Gatwick-based B777-200ERs, well suited to the higher volume but lower yields to Pakistan.

BA and Virgin’s interest in Pakistan is for various reasons, including enduringly strong point-to-point demand, generally robust freight demand, and – significantly recently – a large and clear opportunity following Pakistan International’s ban from the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), and Europe (EU). In 2019, PIA had 95% of the non-stop UK-Pakistan market, according to OAG schedules data.

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