Recently, the European Union and the United States banned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) operations. However, many Pakistani nationals still need to travel home amid the global health crisis. Therefore, the airline is talking with a private carrier to operate charter flights back to Pakistan.
The bans followed the revelation that the carrier suspended 150 pilots after suspicions arose over the authenticity of their licenses. Therefore, the airline needs to find alternative ways to help transport its passengers. According to Gulf News, once the agreement is made, the company that PIA is negotiating with could use the flag carrier of Pakistan’s jets for these services.
There is a lot of planning going into these operations as several of the country’s citizens are still stranded due to the pandemic. Additionally, several people want to see their families for the upcoming Eid holidays.
Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis have already been repatriated over the last few months. Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, tweeted yesterday about the efforts that his country has been going through to assist. With repatriation flights.
The politician is still adamant to bring more stranded nationals back to his nation. He also said that any Pakistani living in any part of the world is his government’s responsibility, and it would strive to fulfill it.
Despite massive disruptions in global air travel, we have fulfilled our promise of bringing back stranded Pakistanis & our overseas workers.250,000 Pakistanis from around the world have been brought home. My govt will continue to support overseas Pakistanis in every way possible
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 18, 2020
Since April, there have been repatriation flights to Pakistan from 70 countries. Moreover, the coronavirus situation in the country has also been challenging in recent months. However, the nation seems to be going past its peak now, with daily cases dropping by the week.
According to Gulf News, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security, Dr. Moeed Yousuf said the following about these efforts:
“The government is fulfilling the prime minister’s commitment of repatriating overseas Pakistanis stranded in different countries of the world due to suspension of flights because of the coronavirus pandemic.”
While the details of PIA’s agreement with the private airline are being refined, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has permitted Omani outfit Salam Air to operate six flights from Muscat to five cities of Pakistan. These flights will happen between July 18th and July 24th.
The fight continues
Simple Flying reached out to Pakistan International Airlines about the talks. A spokesperson told us that there is tremendous demand in the market for a direct flight between Pakistan and Europe.
Among many options considered by PIA to retain its presence in the territories, including utilizing its SPAs and codeshare agreements with partner airlines, it is also looking into the option of chartering the flights, especially during Eid holidays, to bring people back to their loved ones.
Tickets to these flights will be available through regular PIA offices and agents. Additionally, the airline is in talks with three different operators and are in final stages of negotiation.
Altogether, with Pakistan’s leading carrier out of action in two regions where there are a lot of overseas citizens, the country is in a tight spot. Nonetheless, it is undoubtedly working hard to provide alternative solutions this summer.
What are your thoughts about Pakistan International Airlines’ charter plans? Do you think that this is a good move for the operator and its passengers? Let us know what you think of the prospects in the comment section.