Pakistan to resume limited domestic flight operations

Islamabad: Domestic flight operations will resume in Pakistan from Saturday after a nearly two-month-long suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Minister said.

In a video message on Friday, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the decision was taken during a National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting while keeping “the difficulties of people in mind”, Dawn news reported.

However, he added that only Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Serene Air would be allowed to resume flight operations between five cities — Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta.

“Twenty per cent of pre-coronavirus flights will be allowed to operate and the seat occupancy in planes will be limited to 50 per cent,” he said.

Khan added that proper screening of all passengers would be done at airports and their temperatures would be checked before boarding the flight.

A statement from the Aviation Department stated that every passenger would have to fill a health declaration form before boarding, which would include details about their travel history for the last two weeks, current health state and an undertaking to follow the standard operating procedures.

According to a notification from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA), private aircraft and cargo flights will be allowed to operate from all airports across the country.

The government had suspended the operation of all types of domestic scheduled and non-scheduled chartered and private aircraft passenger flights from March 21, reports Dawn news.

The suspension was initially until April 29 but was later extended.

Meanwhile, the suspension of international flights has been extended by 16 days to May 31, according to a PCAA notification.

The suspension is not applicable to special flights of the national flag carrier announced by the government to repatriate Pakistanis stranded abroad.

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