KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Friday announced that it had facilitated the travel of 3600 people to the United Kingdom (UK) just before the COVID-19 travel restrictions came into effect, ARY NEWS reported.
A PIA spokesman said that the national flag carrier operated 13 chartered flights to overcome the passenger influx that was caused after the Britain authorities included Pakistan in the red list owing to rising COVID-19 cases.
“We operated these flights by hiring chartered planes from companies belonging to Ireland, Portugal, Jordon owing to a ban from the EASA, restricting the national flag carrier from operating its flights to Europe,” the spokesman said.
He further blamed the other airlines for charging higher fares-between Rs400,000 to Rs600,000- from the passengers willing to travel to the UK on an urgent basis owing to the travel restrictions that came into place on April 09.
“On the contrary, the PIA charged Rs255,000 for a ticket,” he said adding that despite charging a low fare and using chartered planes, the national flag carrier was able to generate a revenue of Rs700 million.
Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari also welcomed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for operating 13 special flights to the United Kingdom.
Zulfiqar Bukhari said in a Twitter message, ‘Thank you’ PIA for coming up with 13 special flights to UK despite European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) restrictions before the implementation of April 9 ban – with more to come.
The SAPM added, “It’s been a tough time for people especially overseas Pakistanis returning to UK. Happy to see Civil Aviation [CAA] and PIA working together to facilitate people.”