Posts mislead after British Airways suspends London-Islamabad flights

·2 min read

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts circulating in June 2022 claim British Airways suspended flights between London and Islamabad due to the "unavailability of fuel" in Pakistan's capital following petrol price hikes. Although BA announced it would suspend London-Islamabad flights for the second half of June, the airline told AFP this was due to "commercial and operational reasons" unrelated to fuel availability. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority separately said the posts' fuel claim was "incorrect".

"British Airways have grounded all flights to Pakistan amid the unavailability of fuel from the capital city, Islamabad," reads the caption in this Facebook post published on June 6, 2022.

"According to reports, 100 LL fuel is required for aircrafts (sic) known as Jet Fuels, which the British Airways required for the flight back from Islamabad to London's Heathrow Airport, and was not provided."

A screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on June 8, 2022.

The claim was shared alongside an image of a British Airways aircraft.

The text superimposed above the image reads: "British Airways grounds all flights to Pakistan after no fuel refill from Islamabad airport".

The claim circulated online after Pakistan raised petrol and diesel prices for consumers by 17 percent on June 3, just one week after a previous price hike, local media reported.

Similar claims have been shared on Twitter here, here and here.

However, the claim is misleading, according to BA.

"We've taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our Islamabad route for commercial and operational reasons," a BA spokesperson told AFP.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority also said the posts' fuel claim was "incorrect".

"Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority clarifies that news circulating in media regarding the suspension of British Airways flights due to non-availability of fuel at Islamabad International Airport is incorrect," it said in a statement published on its official Twitter account on June 7.

London-Islamabad flights were set to be suspended from June 15 to 30 due to "operational reasons of British Airways", according to the statement.

"In addition, PCAA has also taken a report from a supplier of aviation fuel at Islamabad Airport who confirmed there is no shortage of fuel and storage tanks are full of product", it continues.

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