A new air link between Manchester Airport and Islamabad in Pakistan is to start next week.

Pakistani airline Shaheen Air is to run three flights a week to Benazir Bhutto International Airport from March 15 using a 326-seat Airbus A330-200.

Inbound services will operate on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with departing flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Return fares start at £540.

Private airline Shaheen Air currently serves 13 international and seven domestic destinations, with plans to start flights to Copenhagen, Oslo, Milan, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in the near future.

The airline’s country manager, Raza Channa, said: “We are proud to announce the return of Shaheen Air to the UK by launching direct flights between Manchester and Islamabad.”

Manchester airport commercial director, Stephen Turner, added: “Islamabad continues to be a popular destination with the 22 million people across our catchment area and this new service will provide them with additional choice for reaching the city, and also connecting around Pakistan, with Shaheen’s extensive network.”