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    A British Airways Airbus A380 lands at Heathrow Airport in London on July 4, 2013. British Airways is the first UK airline to take delivery of the A380 and the first long-haul flight will be to Los Angeles on September 24, 2013

    ‘Groundbreaking’ Take Off: British Airways to Resume Flights to Pakistan in June

    © AFP 2019 / JUSTIN TALLIS
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    A decade after British Airways suspended flights from Britain to Pakistan after a suicide truck bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in 2008, flights will resume to Pakistan starting June 2, 2019.

    "Direct flights from London Heathrow to Islamabad's new airport to start in June," British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said in a video on Twitter Tuesday. "A further boost to links between the UK and Pakistan, especially on trade and investment," he added.

    ​In September 2008, British Airways suspended all flights to Pakistan "for an indefinite period" as a precautionary measure after the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad that killed 54 people and injured almost 300.

    Fedayeen al-Islam, a Pakistani militant group, claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, although authorities believe it was carried out by militants affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Islamist militant group founded in 1988 by Osama bin Laden.

    "The route will launch as a three-per-week service, operated on a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner — British Airways' newest long-haul fleet that is 20 percent more fuel efficient than other aircraft and features larger windows, mood lighting and the latest inflight entertainment," according to a Monday press release on the airline's website.

    "All of us at British Airways could not be more pleased to be coming back to Pakistan, and we very much look forward to June next year, when our first flight will touch down at your spectacular new airport," Robert Williams, British Airways head of sales for Asia Pacific and the Middle East, said during a press conference in Islamabad Monday, while standing alongside Pakistan's Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfi Bukhari. 

    "We hope that our new route will allow more people from the United Kingdom to experience what a beautiful country Pakistan is," Williams said, Dawn reported.

    "British Airways coming back after a decade shows you where we were and how far we've come," Bukhari added, noting that the announcement is "groundbreaking". "This is a huge achievement for where we [Pakistan] want to be. It's a huge step for this government, that it has given foreign investors that security to come back."

    "British Airways is a prestigious airline," Bukhari added. "Pakistan is becoming less isolated and becoming more connected to the world — and that's the Pakistan we want to see. We want to see a Pakistan that is heavily connected with the world."

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    terrorist attack, flights, British Airways flight, England, Pakistan
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