On Tuesday, British Airways without any detailed explanation declared a temporary suspension of direct flights between Islamabad Internal Airport and London Heathrow Airport due to “operational reasons”.
According to Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) statement, the services of United Kingdom’s airline will remain suspended from June 15 to June 30. However, the reports of press stating that the operations stopped due to unavailability of fuel in Islamabad were regarded as ‘fake and baseless.’ The PCAA has further explained that it has also taken the report from the supplier of jet fuel who further confirmed that there has been no shortage of fuel and storage tanks are full. The local management of British Airways at Islamabad is in coordination with Airport Manager PCAA Islamabad and the management of British Airways will soon issue a clarification in this regard.
The airline would soon resume its services which will for now continue to operate until June 15. According to Tahir Imran, the aviation journalist, the cause of the suspension of operations is the staff shortage which is wreaking havoc to aviation business in Europe specifically.
British Airways continued their flight operations in 2019 after a break of more than a decade due to truck bombing of Marriot Hotel Islamabad in 2008 which killed at least 54 people and 270 were injured. Flights began between Islamabad and London thrice a week during the month of June just before Eid-Ul-Fitr holidays. But now UK airlines are facing the issue of higher fuel cost and longer journey times to Asia after Russia banned British carriers from its airspace. The longer flight paths will affect four Virgin routes between London Heathrow to Islamabad, Lahore, New Delhi and between Manchester and Islamabad.