PIA cancels special Iqama-holders flights for Saudi Arabia

By: News Desk
Published: 10:22 AM, 15 Mar, 2020
PIA cancels special Iqama-holders flights for Saudi Arabia
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Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Sunday cancelled all its special and routine flights to Saudi Arabia following Kingdom’s decision to suspend all international flights for two weeks.

Earlier the PIA had decided to fly iqama-holder Pakistanis to Saudi Arabia following a 72-hour Saudi ultimatum for iqama-holders (residents) from 12 countries, including Pakistan, to return to the Kingdom amid fears of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The PIA had completed all the arrangements to shift the iqama-holders and job persons to Saudi Arabia within the given timeframe. For PIA Boeing 777 and Airbus 320 planes were to take part in the special operation.

The Airline had planned to operate 10 special flights and 18 routine flights in two days to shift iqama-holders to Saudi Arabia.

But the Saudi authorities informed PIA that they were suspending all international flights from 11 am local time Sunday and PIA should also abort its special operation.

Earlier Saturday, PIA cancelled its 12 international flights from Lahore Airport. According to the Airlines, the decision was taken in light of the sharp drop in numbers of passengers and the ban imposed by Gulf countries on flights from other countries.

Also, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) barred five Pakistani airports from operating international flights. These airports were Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan and Sialkot.

Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore will handle international flights of these airports, the CAA added.