Virgin Atlantic aircraft can be seen at an airport. — AFP/File

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it would be suspending its services “between London Heathrow and Lahore and Islamabad”.

The UK-based aviation company’s operations will suspend on May 1 between London and Lahore and on July 9 between London and Islamabad, a statement said.

“As we continue to ramp up our flying programme in 2023, we’ve taken the opportunity to review our entire network and decided to make a few changes,” the airline’s spokesperson said in the statement.

The final Pakistan flight dates are:

  • LHR-LHE VS364 departs 30th April 2023 at 21:55
  • LHE-LHR VS365 departs 1st May 2023 at 12:25
  • LHR-ISB VS378 departs 8th July 2023 at 21:55
  • ISB-LHR VS379 departs 9th July 2023 at 12:40

Virgin Atlantic launched flights from London Heathrow to Islamabad and Lahore and Manchester to Islamabad at the height of the pandemic in December 2020. The routes were launched when many destinations, including the US, were closed for travel.

“Our Pakistan routes were targeted to capture the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market which was one of the first sectors to recover,” the airline mentioned.

But as the airline ramps up its flying programme for 2023, the carrier is reviewing its “network and ensuring resources are utilised in the most optimal way to achieve operational resilience”. 

“…it is with regret that we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend our services between London Heathrow and Pakistan. Since commencing operations in December 2020, we have been proud to offer choice for customers travelling between London and Manchester in the UK, and Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan.”

“During that time, we have also provided important cargo capacity, as well as delivering vital medical supplies.”

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we’d like to apologise for any inconvenience caused. We would like to wholeheartedly thank everyone in Pakistan; our customers, teams, partners and the authorities for their support over the past two years.”

The airline mentioned that it would communicate to any customers due to fly after these dates — who will be affected by the cancellations — to provide options, which include rebooking, where applicable, or a full refund.

However, customers who have booked with a third-party travel agent should contact them to discuss their options, the aviation company added.

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