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MR
Monitoring report
July 12, 2020

Airlines say virus test must for Pakistani travellers

Business

MR
Monitoring report
July 12, 2020

KARACHI: Qatar and UAE airlines made virus test mandatory for passengers from Pakistan three to four days before the scheduled departure, it was learnt on Saturday.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) already asked its UAE-bound passengers to get their COVID-19 test reports from the designated laboratories four days prior to the scheduled flight, its spokesman told APP.

The spokesman said PIA advised all its UAE-bound passengers to get tested for COVID-19 tests from designated laboratories/centres approved by the UAE government, prior to the departure of flights to Dubai, Sharja, Abu Dhabi or Al-Ain.

Reports must not be beyond 96-hour from the departure time and have to be presented at the boarding time along with the travel clearance certificate issued by the Dubai authority, according to the official.

Qatar Airways said all passengers from Pakistan must show they were tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours of their flight departure and present a negative result.

The mandatory pre-flight requirement will take effect Monday, a Qatar Airways spokesperson told Bloomberg. Qatar Airways currently operates services to the Pakistani cities of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

“To ensure all customers can travel safely with Qatar Airways, from 13 July we will require passengers departing from all our gateways in Pakistan to undertake a Covid-19 PCR test before travel,” Qatar Airways said. In June, South Korea limited the entry of foreigners including those from Pakistan and Bangladesh, and placed a temporary ban on non-scheduled flights from countries where the virus is spreading rapidly.

A PIA spokesman said the airline has already resumed its flights to UAE and is absolutely committed to strict compliance of the standard operating procedures that require the intending passengers to necessarily prove their negative COVID-19 status through test reports conducted and compiled only by approved labs. The spokesman said passengers having departed to the stats are also required to fill a health declaration form during the flight that may ascertain their wellness status in general. All those intending to visit UAE were further informed that tickets could be purchased from PIA ticketing offices and also online besides from approved travelling agents.

Previously, passengers were told to get their COVID-19 test done within 48 hours prior to the flight departure and a negative test report would have to be presented at the time of check-in.

State-owned PIA fell into pilot controversy and that incurred heavy cost to the lose-making airline after question was raised over the authenticity of the pilots’ licences. A number of pilots with questionable licences belonged to the national flag carrier and therefore its special flights to the US were disbanded.