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British Airways to resume flights to Pakistan in June

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2017 file photo, British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in London. British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan in June 2019, a decade after it suspended operations following bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens, an official of British Airways said in a statement, Tuesday Dec. 18. 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — British Airways announced Tuesday it will resume flights to Pakistan in June, a decade after suspending them in the wake of the suicide truck bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens.

In a statement, Robert Williams, the BA head of sales for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, said it was going to be “exciting to be flying between Islamabad and Heathrow” again.

BA said flights would resume on June 2, 2019, three times a week and that “tickets are on sale from today.”

Thomas Drew, Britain’s top diplomat in Pakistan, said the resumption of flights was excellent news and would “give a particular boost to our growing trade and investment links.”

Pakistan’s government and its military also welcomed the announcement. Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the military spokesman, said the development was one of the dividends of the decades-long struggle of the Pakistani nation and security forces to restore peace and stability in the country that are on the way.

BA suspended its operations shortly after the Sept. 20, 2008, suicide truck bombing devastated the Marriott in Islamabad, killing at least 54 people and wounding more than 270.

A little-known militant group calling itself “Fedayeen al-Islam” claimed responsibility for the attack but authorities blamed al-Qaida linked militants.

Since the attack, the Pakistani army has carried out several operations against the Taliban, al-Qaida and other extremist groups, seeking to rout militants from their strongholds. However, large-scale attacks still occasionally take place in the country.

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