ISLAMABAD, Aug 26 (APP): State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan on Wednesday informed the Senate that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) operated special flights for the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis from across the world in wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Responding to a question during question hour he said, that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had rationalized fares to provide relief to travelling public and cheap fares were now available.
To another question by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed about an increase in PIA’s fare, the minister said that in order to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had also imposed restrictions due to which cost of operation was to be met.
For example, the aircraft operating with 300 plus seats was permitted to carry 250 passengers likewise the aircraft having a capacity of 170 was allowed to carry 140 passengers, he added.
Ali Muhammad Khan said, therefore, in order to offset the impact of this cost, some fares were increased by PIA.
He said that the safe return of stranded Pakistanis was the topmost priority of PIA’s COVID-19 repatriation operation. However, some fare increase was unavoidable due to the given circumstances. “PIA remains committed to playing its part in serving Pakistanis across the globe,” he said.
He said, that as per directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, repatriation operations were launched by PIA to many countries including UAE. However, due to restrictions imposed by UAE government, outbound passengers were not allowed on any flights operating to UAE, he added.