Flights to Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates will operate as normal, airlines have said, despite security fears following the bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad. However, Ethihad, the national carrier, said while its schedule was unaffected it would continue to monitor the situation in Pakistan. "Etihad will continue to operate all its flights between Pakistan and Abu Dhabi as usual," said Anne Tullis, a spokeswoman.
"At present Emirates flights to Pakistan are operating as per normal schedule. We are closely monitoring the situation," said an Emirates spokeswoman. The reassurance comes after British Airways said it had been forced to suspend its six flights a week from London to Pakistan due to safety concerns following the bombing of the Marriott on Saturday, which killed more than 50 people and injured scores more. "The safety of our customers, crew and aircraft is of paramount importance," said a BA spokesman.
The only other airline to offer the direct route form London to Pakistan is Pakistan International Airlines. A spokeswoman for PIA said: "The disaster happened days ago now and no flights were cancelled then, nor will any be cancelled going ahead. They will be departing on time." An aircraft engineer in Abu Dhabi said he believes BA had taken the decision to suspend its flights "because of technical reasons. Because it's a long flight, the staff cannot work a lengthy shift so they have to stop over and stay in a hotel. British Airways are protecting their staff.
"The same thing will not happen here because it's a local flight and a shorter flight so they don't need to stop over." firstname.lastname@example.org