Following the government’s decision to partially resume international flight operations, the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has announced a flight schedule for its 10 flights to the UK and Canada from April 4-10.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said two special flights, a PK-789 with 264 passengers on board, flew from Lahore to Toronto, while another flight PK-781 with 242 passengers flew from Karachi to Toronto. These flights were not part of the international flight schedule of 10 flights announced by the national airline.
In addition to scanning all passengers, their luggage was disinfected before the flights departed, and PIA top officials were also present at the airports.
The spokesman said the two planes would return to Islamabad without moving passengers from Canada.
Federal Foreign Office spokeswoman Aisha Farooqui said Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had operated special flights to return stranded Pakistanis from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Thailand.
“Plans to repatriate from Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Tashkent, Baku, Baghdad, London and Toronto have been completed, and plans to repatriate our nationals from other destinations are also being actively considered. Because this is a dynamic and evolving situation, these plans are reviewed regularly, ”Dawn News quoted Farooqui.
Four of the 10 flights planned by the national airline were officially awarded to British nationals stranded in Pakistan. Passengers include over 500 British nationals who asked their government to take them back as soon as possible.
One of the four flights will depart from Islamabad to Manchester and the other to London on April 4, while two more flights from Islamabad to Manchester and Birmingham are scheduled for April 5.
In a video message, the British High Commissioner for Pakistan, Dr. Christian Turner that the British authorities are doing everything possible to facilitate the return of British citizens to the UK.
“We do everything we can to support you when you return home. That is the only priority for me and my team. A lot of work is being done behind the scenes with the Pakistani government and airlines to achieve this, ”he said.
After negotiations between the British and Pakistani authorities, four flights were planned to take back British nationals stranded in Pakistan after the Pakistani government ceased international flight operations.
According to the flight schedule, the PIA will operate three flights on April 7 – one from Islamabad to London, a second from Islamabad to Manchester and a third from Lahore to Toronto.
On April 8, three flights would be operated, one from Islamabad to Manchester, the second from Islamabad to Toronto and the third from Lahore to London.
On April 9, a PIA flight from Islamabad to Manchester is planned, and two more flights – one from Islamabad to London and another from Islamabad to Manchester – are planned. The international flight schedule for April 11 is still pending.