Virgin Atlantic Launch Direct Flights To Islamabad From Manchester Airport


Airline continues to build from its northern hub with a new service to Islamabad

Virgin Atlantic’s first new route to launch since the Covid-19 pandemic

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Virgin Atlantic is ramping up operations from Manchester Airport with a brand-new service between Manchester and Islamabad, launching today.

With a significant proportion of Pakistani diaspora living in the region, the new services will provide vital connectivity for friends and relatives visiting family and loved ones, in addition to serving growing demand for business and leisure travel. In addition, Virgin Atlantic will also launch services between London Heathrow and Islamabad on 12th December and London Heathrow to Lahore on 13th December.

The new route will operate on Virgin Atlantic's Boeing 787 offering the airline’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Light, Classic and Delight cabins. Passengers can take advantage of over 1000 hours of in-flight entertainment, which includes a selection of Urdu films and TV programmes.

As well as flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer a fast, efficient cargo service growing trade volumes between exporters and importers in both the UK and Pakistan. The UK is the largest export market for Pakistan in Europe, transporting high volumes of goods such as textiles, apparel and machinery.

Virgin Atlantic’s new flights to Islamabad reaffirm the airline’s unwavering commitment to serving the region. Flights to Barbados resumed last Saturday, with other customer favourites such as Orlando, New York and Atlanta restarting from Manchester over the coming months.

In addition to opening new routes from its northern hub, Virgin Atlantic remains committed to providing an unrivalled travel experience for its customers and is continuing with its plans to bring its iconic Clubhouse experience to Manchester Airport. Expected later in 2021, the airline’s Upper Class customers and Gold Card members can take advantage of the exclusive space before their flight, which will include a la carte dining, a full service bar and quiet working spaces, allowing passengers to relax and rejuvenate before they depart.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented;

“We have missed flying customers from Manchester, our home in the North, so I’m pleased we can continue to mark our return with the launch of our new service to Pakistan. This is our first route launch since the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is an extremely important one for us as we look to reunite families and loved ones.

“Despite the challenges brought by Covid-19, our commitment to Manchester has never wavered. It’s an exciting time as demand gradually returns and we build up flying from the region. Our desire to delight and connect customers flying from the North West continues and we are looking forward to welcoming them back and flying them safely to their favourite destinations. We’d like to thank the British High Commission for their support during our set up phase and also the Pakistani authorities for granting us the approvals to operate this route. We’re delighted that the authorities recognise the importance of this service, enabling vital connectivity between these two great cities”

Karen Smart, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said;

“We are pleased to support Virgin Atlantic in launching its first route to Asia from Manchester, and its first service to Islamabad from any UK airport.

“The route will open up a wide range of benefits for the North, strengthening trade ties with Pakistan as well as helping to connect the more than 435,000* people of Pakistani heritage in the region with friends and relatives.

“We continue to work closely with Virgin Atlantic and all of our partner airlines to ensure that the passenger experience is the best that it can be during these challenging times and that the appropriate measures are in place to keep passengers and staff safe.”

*2011 Census

To ensure the health and safety of customers and crew, Virgin Atlantic is implementing additional measures to offer peace of mind in the airport and when taking to the skies. These include enhanced and thorough cleaning practices at check in, boarding gates and onboard including the use of electrostatic spraying of high-grade disinfectant in all cabins and lavatories before every flight, ensuring no surface is left untouched. Safe distancing will also be adhered to wherever possible, and mask wearing will be required throughout the journey. All customers will be provided with a personal Health Pack for their health and safety, which will contain three medical grade face masks to be worn onboard, surface wipes and hand gel.

The airline is offering a temporary simplified hot food service in all cabins. Meals have been redesigned to limit interaction, enclosed and controlled from preparation in a Covid-safe, monitored environment to the moment it is served. Economy and Premium Economy customers will now enjoy a “Fly safe, eat well” meal box, which incorporates a choice of three hot meals, cheese and biscuits and a dessert pot washed down with a selection of beverages. Upper Class customers will receive a choice of three hot meals, desserts, including cheese & biscuits and a ciabatta roll, all delivered to their seat on a tray. All customers will receive a second meal service which, on day flights from the UK, includes the delicious Mile High Tea in collaboration with celebrity pâtissier Eric Lanlard.

To book Virgin Atlantic services from Manchester please visit www.virginatlantic.com