Thursday July 18, 2024

PIA’s first flight to Sydney deferred

By Bilal Hussain
April 22, 2022

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)’s first ever flight to Sydney was deferred on security grounds on Thursday, a day before the flight was scheduled to take off from Lahore.

Country’s national flag carrier had been celebrating its maiden flight to Sydney, which was scheduled to take off on April 22. However, the Department of Homeland Affairs Australia has told PIA to call off the flights.

“Australia has decided to review the security situation at Lahore and Karachi airports,” said Abdullah Hafeez, spokesperson at PIA.

“The PIA administration and the Pakistani embassy are in full touch with Australian authorities, and providing them full cooperation,” he added. PIA is notifying the passengers on the first two flights through the call center. The second flight, which was scheduled for April 29, has also been postponed. Hafeez said Australians would conduct a review of Lahore and Karachi airports for their satisfaction and might take a week or two to give a go ahead to manage flights.

However, Director General Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority Khaqan Murtaza rejected the notion that there were any security issues at Lahore and Karachi airports.

“Their [Australia] CAA has already approved the flights,” said Murtaza. “Reason for delay is perhaps due to the completion of the internal assessment process of the Australian Transport Department.” PIA planned to run two weekly flights to Australia, which would reduce travelling time by approximately one-third to and from down under.

Initially, PIA has planned to have two weekly flights – to and from Karachi and Lahore to Sydney. Later, PIA said it might also add Islamabad as well. The direct flights would reduce the time period of a traveller to 12:30 hours and 13 hours if one is going to Australia or coming to Pakistan respectively.