Dozens of special flights were arranged to ferry hundreds of British Pakistanis who wanted to get back home before the 4 AM Friday, deadline. Pakistan was added to the UK high-risk countries red list and as a result, passengers coming from Pakistan after the deadline will need to pay £1,750 for hotel quarantine for 11 nights. If they reach UK before 4 AM on Friday they can simply go to their home and stay self-isolated for 10 days. If their tests come out negative after 5 days they will not be required to self-isolate.
It is important to note that British Airways and Virgin Atlantic brought to Pakistan thousands of British Pakistanis, many of whom were carrying the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19 that is wreaking havoc in Pakistan. Due to increased demand, the fares on the UK route have jumped significantly and British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and even PIA (in its hybrid flight operations) have added extra flights. At the same time, quite a few special charter flight were also arranghed by travel agents. Tickets were sold at around 300,000 rupees which is over £1,400 one way.
Among the special charters were flights operated by Polish airline Inter Air using its Boeing 737s, operated flights from Islamabad to Birmingham via Moscow. Bulgaria’s GullivAir used it Airbus A330, for a special flight from Islamabad via Sofia to Birmingham. A unique Icelandair Boeing 767 was used for a special flight Islamabad to Heathrow. A charter by Spanish airline Wamos Air flew from Islamabad to London Stansted. So far over 30 special flights have taken place.