Pakistan resumes domestic flights partially as nation-wide lockdown eased
Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday resumed domestic flight operations in a phased manner as the government eased the nationwide-lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has claimed the lives of over 830 people in the country.
The resumption of the domestic flight services from five major airports on Saturday came as the Pakistan government last week said that it would begin a phased lifting of the lockdown due to its effect on the economy and the workforce, the Geo News reported.
“The first Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight carrying 84 passengers departed from Karachi for Lahore at 1pm along with flights for Lahore and Islamabad via private airlines,” the report said.
The five major airports allowed to restart operations include Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport, Islamabad International Airport (IIAP), Quetta International Airport and Peshawar’s Bacha Khan International Airport.
A spokesperson for the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA) said domestic flights will be operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and one private company for now.
The ban on international flight operations, meanwhile, has been extended until May 31.
However, the PCCA is keeping a close monitor of the passengers before they board the flight to ensure there is no further rise in COVID-19 cases.
“Passengers will be required to fill health declaration forms before boarding the airplane and subjected to thermal scanning on entry and exit into and from a city. All luggage will be disinfected and no meet and greet will be allowed at the airports,” the report said.
Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan earlier said that social distancing will be followed based on available seats and flights will only be allowed to fill 50 per cent of their full capacity, the report said.
Pakistan on Saturday said it has reported 1,581 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total infections in the country to 38,799 with 834 deaths.