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Int’l flights resume today


May 30, 2020

By News desk

LAHORE: Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA) has announced resuming outbound international flight operations from today (Saturday).

“As per decision of the federal government, the outbound international flights (scheduled, non-scheduled and charter flights) operation has been allowed with effect from 23.59 hours tonight,” said Aviation Division spokesperson Abdul Sattar Khokhar.

In a statement, the spokesperson added that both national and foreign airlines will be allowed to operate from all international airports of Pakistan except Gwadar and Turbat.

“SOPs for outbound international flights have already been issued according to which airlines will be required to follow the SOPs of the destination country”. Additionally, the government has decided to further enhance domestic flights operation from previous 20-22% to 40-45% of pre-Covid-19 operations.

He further added that this decision has been taken due to growing business and public demand for air travel and smart lockdown being observed by the federal and provincial governments.

Also this decision is the outcome of people’s confidence due to best possible health precautions being adopted both at the airports and by the airlines. The enhanced operation shall start from June 1 onwards and will cover Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta. Keeping in view the current situation, the statement said congestion at airports will not be allowed and planes will be disinfected.

It is pertinent to mention that the country had resumed partial domestic flight operations on May 16. In March, PIA had suspended all international flights in the wake of the novel coronavirus. A month later, the government extended the suspension of international and domestic flight operations till April 30 in line with the national strategy to stem the spread of novel coronavirus. However, during that period, PIA resumed its relief flights to bring back stranded Pakistanis abroad.

According to Geo News, in a video statement, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had said 20% of domestic flights would resume from today (Saturday) but in a limited capacity. The announcement came following a final decision taken by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC).

The five major airports allowed to restarting operations included Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport, Islamabad International Airport (IIAP), Quetta International Airport and Peshawar’s Bacha Khan International Airport. Sarwar had said social distancing would be followed based on available seats and flights would only be allowed to fill 50% of their full capacity. “Passengers will be provided the opportunity to travel safely,” he added.