LONDON: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is set to start the Sialkot-London-Sialkot route from September 10, this year, an official statement by the national flag carrier said.
Initially, the route would operate once-a-week, from Sialkot to Heathrow Airport, every Tuesday, whereas the flight from Heathrow Airport to Sialkot would arrive every Wednesday, the PIA’s country manager in the UK, Siraj Qazi, confirmed.
The route would provide direct point-to-point service to Sialkot as well as the shortest route to Kharian, Gujrat, Jhelum and adjoining areas, and Mirpur in Azad Kashmir.
It is worth mentioning that this newly-launched route would be quite significant for the Sikh Yatris who plan to participate in the celebration of Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday. The pilgrims are likely to opt for the Sialkot International Airport route to start their holy pilgrimages through visiting Kartarpur Gurdwara within a proximity of around 100 kilometres.
According to the schedule issued by the PIA, flight PK-777 would depart from Sialkot every Tuesday at 10:15AM and arrive at Heathrow Airport at 1450 hours, local time. Flight PK-778, on the other hand, would depart from Heathrow Airport at 1825 hours and arrive in Pakistan at 6:25AM the next day (Wednesday).
Qazi, the country manager, said a variant of the Boeing 777 aircraft — which has been specifically decorated — would be used for the new international route. The PIA launched the London-Sialkot route numerous consultations and customer feedback, he added.
The PIA official expressed his hope that the new route would help Pakistan’s tourism industry and more people would likely travel back home using it as most British-Pakistanis hail from areas close to Sialkot.