The British High Commissioner has handed over a gift of state of the art airport scanners to Pakistan.
The handover was marked by a ceremony on the 31st August 2023, when Jane Marriott CMG OBE attended a ceremony at Karachi Airport.
One scanner will be placed at each Karachi and Lahore airports to help with safety and security of flights. There are over 1.6 million people of a Pakistani heritage living in the UK and the two countries have a long history of cooperation.
Handed over by the High Commissioner
As part of an announcement the British High Commission in Karachi said: “Hundreds of thousands of people travel between the UK and Pakistan every year, proof of the hugely significant UK-Pakistan people-to-people relationship.”
“Air links are of vital importance for trade between the UK and Pakistan and the diaspora.”
They continue: “UK funding of £164,000 (60 million Rupees) has provided two state-of-the-art screening units for Karachi and Lahore airports to detect illicit items in passenger baggage. This technology will help to protect both British and Pakistani nationals travelling from Pakistan to the UK and elsewhere.”
“The UK takes aviation safety very seriously. International minimum standards help ensure that air travel is safe and secure for UK and Pakistani nationals and support international aviation to flourish.”
A statement of commitment to safety
Despite the solid demand for traffic between the two countries there have occasionally been questions about safety.
In 2020 Pakistan International Airlines was banned from flying to the UK and their safety certificate revoked. This ban was later lifted a couple of months later.
This project by the British High Commission in Pakistan is a further sign of cementing this sometimes tense relationship.
British High Commissioner Jane Marriott CMG-OBE said: I’m delighted to handover these state-of-the-art airport security scanners here in Karachi, a demonstration of UK support for security at Pakistan’s airports.”
“We all want travellers to fly safely and securely, this new technology means passengers can fly with greater confidence from Pakistan.”
Current operators on the route
Currently British Airways (under a Qatar codeshare), Emirates, Gulf and Etihad are the majority carriers on the UK-Pakistan routes. None operate a non-stop route between the two countries at the moment.
Pakistan International airlines serve the Karachi to Heathrow route via a codeshare with Turkish Airlines. That route involves a stopover in Istanbul.
Up until 2022 Virgin Atlantic ran a direct service between Manchester and Pakistan but that was discontinued. Additionally Ms Liezl Gerick, head of Middle East, Africa and India for Virgin Atlantic, said back in October 2022:
“All airlines are facing operational challenges and Virgin Atlantic was not alone in this. We are working with this market to see where the greatest opportunity is. Manchester has done extremely well for us. It’s a business decision.”
Ms Gericke added during a press conference at Serena Hotel that Virgin Atlantic would seriously evaluate opportunities to resume this much anticipated Manchester – Islamabad route in the near future.
However Virgin Atlantic doesn’t seem to be operating any services between the UK and Pakistan for the current season.
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