Why Did British Airways Suspend Operations In Pakistan? How Will Resumption Help Pakistani Economy?

British Airways has announced to resume operations in Pakistan after an entire decade – adding to the improvement of Pakistan’s image on an international level. The airline initially suspended the operations due to security concerns, however, has now decided to resume flights from next summer in a major vote of confidence.

The British carrier halted services back in 2008 after deadly Marriott Hotel attack in Islamabad. It will return in June 2019 with three weekly flights from London’s Heathrow airport to the national capital.

Also See: Promoting Tourism: Longest Hiking Trail Inaugurated In Islamabad

Over a million Pakistanis are currently residents to Britain. Ever since Marriott attack, the overseas Pakistanis were largely dependent on Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates and Etihad. As all these international flights are routed through the Gulf, it not only increases the travel time but also adds to the travel expense. While struggling Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was the only direct carrier with direct flights between both countries, British Airways will also ease the lives of our overseas diaspora.

After battling terrorism and external/internal threats for more than a decade, Pakistan is finally ready to welcome the international carrier. With easing the lives of natives, it is also likely to add to Pakistan’s tourist influx. The incumbent government has specifically focused on the importance of tourism and has made significant progress in improving the country’s global image – which was previously plagued by terrorism.

The recent development in the sphere has won PTI government and especially Syed Zulfikar Bukhari, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis much appreciation. Naz Shah also appreciated the progress and said that it shows Pakistan is moving ahead in the right direction.

”I’d like to congratulate and also thank Syed Zulfikar Bukhari, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis for his efforts on helping securing this.” – she wrote on Twitter. 

The UK is Pakistan’s biggest export market after Germany and Spain in Europe. Contrary to this, Pakistan is UK’s 54th largest export market. The new progress is likely to improve bilateral trade ties as well.

Elin Burns, UK Deputy High Commissioner, says that it will give confidence to UK investors and they will see Pakistan as the potential market.

“Lot of UK firms are showing interest in Pakistani market and some big announcements (are) likely in the coming days. British Airways entry will give confidence to many other UK companies.”

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