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Tuesday January 25, 2022

Pakistan’s domestic flights partially resume today

May 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday extended the suspension of international flight operations until May 31, while domestic will be partially restored from today (Saturday).

“As per the government decision, the suspension of international flight operations, as effected earlier, has been extended up to Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 2359 hours PST,” a spokesman for the Aviation Division said in a news release. Remaining provisions as applicable to the suspension of international flights, reflected in the previous orders, would remain unchanged, he added.

On March 21, the government had suspended the operation of all international passenger, chartered and private flights to Pakistan — initially for a period of two weeks. Diplomats and special or cargo aircraft were exempted from the suspension with certain conditions and preventive measures against the virus.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that domestic flight operations will partially be restored today (Saturday). Limited domestic flight operations will begin from Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta. Initially PIA and Serene Air will operate domestic flights.

According to a series of tweets from the CAA, the Aviation Division has prepared “very strict SOPs ensuring disinfection, social distancing and safety for the airline crew and passengers”.

The SOPs for domestic passengers and chartered flight operations require disinfection of the aircraft prior to boarding, at least one vacant seat between the passengers, compulsory wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser. Luggage shall also be disinfected prior to loading onto the aircraft and after arrival at the destination airport, the CAA said.

No food and beverages will be allowed during domestic flights. “Airlines are required to maintain emergency PPE in every aircraft to deal with any health emergency during flight,” the CAA added.

Furthermore, every passenger will be required to fill a health declaration form prior to boarding aircraft, which include identification of the passenger, brief travel history during the past two weeks, current health state and an undertaking to comply with the SOPs.

At the airports, the passengers will undergo thermal scanning both on entry airports for departure and upon arrival at the destination city. “Anyone with raised body temperature on visible symptoms of Covid-19 shall be examined by a health professional and required action, if any, shall be taken as per advice of the health professional,” CAA said.

Social distance shall be maintained at every stage of departure and arrival formalities, the body said. “No protocol would be allowed beyond the briefing area. No meet and greet at the airport shall be allowed. The drivers shall stay inside the vehicle in the parking lot,” the CAA concluded.

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