Direct flights from Leeds-Bradford to Pakistan are scrapped

DIRECT flights from Leeds-Bradford to Pakistan, launched in a blaze of publicity in January, are to be scrapped at the end of this month.

"Lack of aircraft availability" is being blamed for the demise of the Shaheen Air International service to Islamabad after just four months.

The airport's website says flights to the Pakistani capital will still depart on May 8, 11, 18, 25 and 30.

Passengers are being advised, where applicable, to contact their local booking agent for refunds.

The airport hailed the introduction of twice weekly non-stop flights to Islamabad as a first for the Yorkshire region when they were announced.

And within a month of the launch the airline was promising to increase the frequency of its service.

Shaheen Air, which was founded in December, 1993, was designated as the second national carrier of Pakistan last October. It operates 15 domestic and international routes.

The Islamabad service was served by wide-bodied Airbus A310 aircraft, with 191 economy and 19 business class seats.

Kahlid M Sehbai, the chairman of Shaheen Air International, initially said: "It is a matter of immense pleasure and pride that Shaheen Air International shall be servicing the Pakistani community, living in Leeds and Bradford. I am sure that Pakistanis living in and around Yorkshire will strongly support the new service and thus encourage us to add more frequencies from Leeds-Bradford."

Tony Hallwood, commercial and aviation development director at the airport, said: "We are in discussions with airlines with a view to re-starting direct operations to Pakistan."