Pak’s PIA allowed to conduct direct flights to US

Islamabad: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been allowed by the US Department of Transportation to conduct direct flights to America with immediate effect, the flag carrier announced.

Addressing the media on Thursday, PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said that it was the first time that Pakistan’s national flag carrier will be operating direct flights to the US without any stop on the way, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Before the 9/11 attacks, the PIA planes did not have the capacity to fly directly to the US and they had to make stop somewhere. Later, PIA enhanced its capacity but the US authorities refused to permit the airlines for direct flights due to security concerns forcing its flights to have security clearance in Europe,” said the spokesperson.

According to the official, under the permission that will expire on April 29, 2021, the PIA would be allowed to operate 12 round-trips or one-way passenger or cargo flights in a month under the condition to inform the US Department of Transportation of the route it took for any passenger or cargo chartered flights.

If a PIA flight heads to the US from an airport outside Pakistan, it will have to obtain a security clearance, otherwise it would not be allowed to enter the airspace.

Last month, a team of the US Transportation Security Administration reportedly visited Pakistan to conduct a final security inspection.

In October 2017, the PIA discontinued its flights to the US because of increasing operational charges due to stopovers and low business and later started negotiations with the US authorities for the permission of direct flights.

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