Pakistan Fines Turkish Airlines Over COVID-19 Requirements

Turkish Airlines has been hit with a fine by Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority after it allegedly transported a passenger without proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The airline’s penalty for the violation will be a fine of 100,000 Pakistani Rupees – which equates to just $625. The occurrence is said to have taken place just days ago, on January 13th, on a flight from Istanbul (Turkey) to Lahore (Pakistan). The passenger had started their journey in Dakar (Senegal).

Port Harcourt, Turkish Airlines, Airbus A330
Turkish Airlines operates the Airbus A330 to a number of cities in Pakistan, including Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi. Photo: Getty Images

Two passengers flew without proof of negative PCR tests

The source of this information actually comes directly from the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority’s Twitter account. The government body posted an image of the letter, which was handed to Turkish Airlines, disclosing the offense, and when it took place. The letter even goes so far as to name the two passengers involved, as well as listing their passport numbers.

 

As can be seen in the embedded image, the two travelers were traveling from Senegal – a country that Pakistan lists as “Category-B,” and flew to Lahore via Turkish Airlines’ hub in Istanbul. The offense took place on flight TK0584 on January 13th, 2021.

As Pakistan has designated Senegal as a Category-B country, proof of a negative RT-PCR test is required. This test must be conducted within 96 hours of a flight. It appears that Turkish Airlines allowed these passengers to travel to Pakistan without showing any test results.

“In view of the foregoing, Competent Authority has imposed penalty to the tune of PKR 100,000 on Turkish Airlines and the same shall be deposited in [the Pakistan CAA Collection Account] on immediate basis. Any recurrent violation of COVID-19 related [Standard Operating Procedures] shall be dealt with in a more stringent manner including but not limited to recovation of operating authorization granted to Turkish Airlines for flight operations to/from Pakistan.” -Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority via Twitter

Not the first offense

Apparently, this is not the first time Turkish Airlines has violated Pakistan’s rules. As was noted in this January 2021 letter, the airline was issued a warning letter on October 13 and 21 for violation of procedures.

This is not the first time that Turkish Airlines has violated the rules as a warning was issued to it on October 13 and 21 last year as well for violating the SOPs. It is unknown exactly what these violations were. Sifting through the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority’s Twitter account, no previous warning letter to Turkish Airlines was publicly posted.

Turkish Airlines A330
Turkish Airlines has already had previous violations of Pakistani CAA procedures. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons 

In recent days, data from Worldometers shows that Pakistan has consistently logged about 2,000 new coronavirus cases per day as it fights to bring down numbers from a second wave, which had its peak in late December.

What do you think of this situation? Is the fine appropriate for the violation? Let us know in the comments.

Simple Flying reached out to Turkish Airlines, hoping to get an official statement on the matter. However, at the time of publication, no response was received.

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