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Airline ends direct flights from Leeds to Pakistan

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PAKISTAN International Airlines has dropped Leeds Bradford Airport from its schedule of direct flights to Islamabad.

The decision to divert flights to Manchester from next month leaves Yorkshire without any direct services to the sub-continent.

Passengers were told earlier this month that tickets for the twice-weekly service from Leeds were not available, pending a decision on its future.

Tony Hallwood, aviation development and marketing director at Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) called the decision “disappointing”, saying it deprived “one of the largest regional Pakistani and Kashmiri communities in the UK of their local and direct air link to Islamabad.”

He added: “In the last 12 months PIA have seen a significant 30% growth in passengers from across Bradford and the Leeds City region and only last month LBA had been in talks with the airline to expand services to meet the significant growth in demand by introducing additional frequency or delivering larger B777-200 operations.

“Over 200,000 passengers have now flown from LBA since the services commenced back in 2008 proving that West Yorkshire deserves to retain its services to Pakistan. LBA are already working hard to encourage PIA to reverse its decision and we are being supported by local MPs and community leaders across the region.

“LBA are determined to see the reintroduction of much needed services to Pakistan at the earliest opportunity and we are working around the clock to deliver a successful outcome.”

PIA flights from Leeds to Pakistan began in 2008 and were hailed as a “major achievement” by the airport.

But in January a PIA air steward who tried to smuggle heroin through the Leeds terminal was jailed for five years.

And last November, PIA pilot Irfan Faiz, 55, was jailed for nine months for being drunk before he was due to fly from Leeds with 156 people on board. He was found to have three times the legal amount of alcohol in his blood, prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court.

 

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