Pakistan extends suspension of international flight operation

By: Maqbool Ahmad      Published: 09:54 PM, 25 Apr, 2020
Pakistan extends suspension of international flight operation
–File photo

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Saturday once again extended the suspension of international flight operation up to May 15.

According to a notification issued here, international flights to and from Pakistan will remain suspended until 12 midnight on May 15.

The suspension of international flight operation has been extended keeping in view the consistent increase in coronavirus cases in Pakistan and all over the world. 

Pakistan has seen a steady increase in coronavirus cases since February 26, when the first coronavirus infection was confirmed in Karachi. As of April 25, the number of coronavirus cases in the country stands at 12,657 with 265 deaths.

Initially, Pakistan had suspended the local and international flight operation till April 30. The directive came after the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to over 7,500 with 143 deaths.

On April 1, the CAA suspended all passenger flight operations till midnight on April 11, saying, "The only exception would be the diplomatic, special/cargo flights and flights of national carrier to/from Pakistan holding special approval from the competent authority for transporting stranded passengers."

Once again on April 9, Pakistan extended the suspension of domestic and international flight operation in the country in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus. "As per decision of the Government of Pakistan, the suspension of international and domestic flight operations as effected earlier has been extended up to Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 2359 PST," said a notification issued by the CAA.

However, Pakistan continues to operate special flights to bring back Pakistanis stranded in different countries of the world. The government has brought back thousands of Pakistanis stranded abroad after the governments declared lockdowns and airlines brought flight operations to a grinding halt in a bid to contain new coronavirus.

Similarly, the Pakistani government has allowed several countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and the United States, to take thousands of their citizens home through chartered flights in recent weeks.