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LAHORE: The Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan (PCCA) has announced resuming international flight operations starting today (Saturday).
“As per the federal government’s decision, international flight operations (scheduled, unscheduled and chartered flights) have been permitted with effects starting at 23.59 hours tonight,” Aviation Division spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar said.
In a statement, the spokesman added that national and foreign airlines would be allowed to operate from all of Pakistan’s international airports except Gwadar and Turbat.
“SOPs for international flights out have been issued according to which airline will be required to follow the SOP of the destination country”. In addition, the government has decided to further improve domestic flight operations from the previous 20-22% to 40-45% of pre-Covid-19 operations.
He further added that this decision had been taken because of the increasing business and public demand for air travel and smart locking which was monitored by the federal and provincial governments. Also this decision is the result of people’s trust because the best health precautions are adopted at the airport and by the airlines. The upgraded operation will start from 1 June onwards and will cover Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.
Noting the current situation, the statement said congestion at the airport would not be permitted and the aircraft would be disinfected.
It is important to mention that the country has restarted its domestic flight operations in part on May 16. In March, the PIA had suspended all international flights after the new coronavirus. A month later, the government extended the suspension of international and domestic aviation operations until April 30 in line with the national strategy to stem the spread of the new corona virus. However, during that period, the PIA continued its aid flights to bring back stranded Pakistanis overseas.
According to Geo News, in a video statement, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said 20% of domestic flights would be resumed starting today (Saturday) but in limited capacity. The announcement followed the final decision taken by the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC). Five major airports permitted to restart operations include Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, Allama Iqbal Lahore International Airport, Islamabad International Airport (IIAP), Quetta International Airport and Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar. Sarwar said social distance would be followed based on available seats and flights would only fill 50% of their full capacity. “Passengers will be given the opportunity to travel safely,” he added.