The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) locked five airports for international flights after the National Security Committee (NSC) restricted such operations to three county airports as part of radical events to comprise the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
An announcement, issued by the CAA’s director of transport and economic regulators, said that international flights functioned from Quetta, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad and Peshawar had been moved to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore airports.
On Friday, the government did everything possible to prevent any outbreak of new coronaviruses in the country, closing schools and cinemas; seal the borders of Iran and Afghanistan; limitation of international flights; discourage huge gatherings and cancel the joint military parade on March 23.
The CNS meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by civilian and military leaders, decided to guarantee few points of entry into the country and endorsed the arrival and departure of international flights at only three airports. Aviation Minister established on Friday night that the NSC meeting had selected to hang the operation of international flights at five airports, while Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had announced the delay of its flights.
The CAA notification said local flights would operate as usual at all five airports, which had been closed for international operations, addition to that international flights could only land in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.
The CAA also notified the reorganization of the international flight schedule. He said that international flights to Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar and Sialkot would now land at Lahore and Islamabad airports, while flights to Quetta would be operated from Karachi.
Arrangements are being made to transport travelers to their destinations after landing at these three airports, the notification says. Health personnel at these airports also intention to strengthen traveler evaluation, he added.
In compliance with the NSC’s decision, the PIA also rescheduled its flight schedule. “The seven flights, which operated from Peshawar and Multan, will now operate from Islamabad and Lahore,” a PIA spokesman said Saturday.
“The rescheduling of flights in accordance with the NSC decision aims to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country,” said the PIA spokesman. “The PIA disinfects the aircraft after each flight in accordance with international standards,” he added.
Sialkot airport suspended all international flights since Saturday, a spokesman said.
Shakur Mirza, public relations manager at the airport, said that in accordance with the NSC’s decision, the airport will operate only domestic flights until March 31.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan, the aviation minister, said the decision to limit international flights would put pressure on Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi airports, but “every effort will be made to ensure smooth operation” through resource mobilization and labor from other airports. ”
Pakistan has already suspended flight operations to China, Iran, Qatar and Italy after the coronavirus outbreak. On Saturday, Thai Air temporarily suspended Karachi-Bangkok flights from Sunday, March 15 to March 31.
The minister said that the coronavirus or COVID-19 infection has caused losses of more than $ 15 million to the state airline and the aviation industry due to the suspension of flight operations.
“During the past month, the PIA lost 1.2 billion rupees due to the suspension of flights to different countries,” said Khan. The CAA also lost Rs 1.2 billion last week, he added.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 142,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in at least 129 countries and territories, with almost 5,400 people losing their lives. Many countries have closed borders and suspended land and air travel after the virus appeared.