British Airways returns to Pakistan after more than a decade
Islamabad - A British Airways flight landed in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on Monday after more than a decade of suspended operations, in a development being seen as a vote of confidence amid the country's struggle to restore peace and stability.
Footage of a Boeing 787 jet with some 240 passengers on board landing at the capital's new airport was aired by local TV channels. Several government ministers and the British high commissioner were on hand to welcome the flight.
"I am happy that British Airways has landed in Pakistan after 11 years," Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said in a video message. "Today's Pakistan is more safe, secure and peaceful," Khan said.
The British carrier had suspended operations in 2008 after the deadly Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad in which more than 50 people were killed.
The security situation has since improved due to successive military operations against the militants. "Britain's flag carrier is back," Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner in Islamabad, said in a video message shared via Twitter.
"It is of course a tribute to the great improvement to the security situation in Pakistan in recent years," Drew added.
British Airways will be operating three flights a week to Pakistan, said Farah Hussain, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).