It was announced that direct flights from Leeds Bradford to Islamabad were to be scrapped at the end of May due to an unexpected aircraft shortage. Introduced by Shaheen Air International, Pakistan’s second largest international carrier, the twice weekly non-stop service was launched from Leeds-Bradford in January this year with a 210 seater Airbus A310 carrying passengers between Yorkshire and Pakistan. With the launch of the new route, Shaheen chairman, Kahlid M Sehbai, said that he was confident there would be huge support for the new service, adding his hope that there would be more frequent flights from Leeds Bradford. After just four months, however, the airline admitted that it was unable to continue the popular service despite maintaining successful flights from Stansted, Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester airports.
Tony Hallwood, commercial and aviation development director at Leeds Bradford Airport, confirmed his disappointment at the airline’s withdrawal of the service. As predicted there had been high demand for the route from Pakistanis living in the Yorkshire area and over a few short months the service had been a huge economic benefit to the airport. Airport operators are now on the look-out for another airline to offer direct flights to Pakistan and are hoping to launch a new service in the near future.