Yorkshire’s only direct route to Pakistan is set be extinguished after Pakistan International Airlines announced that they would no longer operate out of Leeds Bradford Airport.
The airline, which has had its share of controversial moments in recent years, has announced that the final flight is likely to leave LBA later this month on the 15th May.
The route will now fly from Manchester instead, which has been described as ‘disappointing’ by the LBA aviation development and marketing director, Tony Hallwood.
Mr Hallwood added that he was surprised at the decision, claiming that the airport’s own figures showed the two flights were the ‘fastest growing of PIA services in the UK at present’.
He said: “We know the figures and we have shown that our passenger growth over the last 12 months has been around about 30 per cent and, in certain months, higher than that…Which clearly shows there is significant demand.”
Previously, in 2011, the airline had threatened to cancel its services from the Yorkshire airport, yet after consultations with the sites representatives, and then Bradford Lord Mayor, Naveeda Ikram, the decision was reversed.
Cllr Ikram, who is also PIA’s senior supervisor for Bradford and LBA, said the decision will not have been an easy one to make, but ensured residents it was likely to only be temporary.
“This is not a permanent thing I am led to believe,” she explained. “The decision purely came from a technical stand point in the fact that the airline needs new aircrafts to operate out of Leeds Bradford.
“It has been done, for what I believe, are all the right reasons, and they hope to resume flights from the airport in the future.
“It is obviously a loss for the British-Pakistani residents living in Yorkshire but it is not something that would happen, unless it had to. I know PIA are sad to be leaving as well.”
PIA had previously been running two flights out of LBA on a weekly basis to Islamabad.