The authorities in Saudi Arabia approved the reinstatement of passengers and pilgrims from Umrah to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in Saudi Arabia on the demand of Pakistan until 17 March. Just to carry back those stranded in Saudi Arabia, the PIA will send its plane to Jeddah and Madina.
Over the threat of the coronavirus, the Saudi authorities had halted all flight operations from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia. Saturday, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) urged the Saudi Arabian authorities to allow PIA and Saudi airlines to operate their flights until 25 March in order to encourage passengers to fly to their destinations.
The national flag carrier operated from Pakistan 65 flights to Saudi Arabia flights between 13 March and 15 March, reported by PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez, which took 17 184 passengers back. He said that Saudi Saudi authorities had given special permission to run PIA’s Jeddah and Madina flights until 17 March. The spokesman further said,
We hope our flight operation will be completed till March 17 whereas the Saudi Airlines’ flight departing from the kingdom will land in Pakistan in the early hours of March 19.”
The PIA spokesperson has said that the aircraft already had a capacious seating capacity of 5,200 passengers, while for three days had 3,600 passengers booked up only. All Pakistanis stuck in Saudi Arabia are told to contact their PIA booking office to return before the deadline.
In the meantime, Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan along with Special Assistant to Overseas Prime Minister Zulfi Bukhari visited the IIA on Saturday night to view the steps taken to handle the additional load of flights because of operations restricted to three cities–Lahore Karachi and Islamabad.
After a spike in Pakistan’s coronavirus cases, the Minister was briefed on precautionary steps taken by CAA. He checked and spoke with healthcare professionals on the safety testing procedure for inbound travelers on domestic and foreign flights.
Additionally, Mr. Khan confirmed whether foreign travelers had filled out the Health Statement and reviewed the support desk and airport isolation rooms.
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