CAA curbs on foreign airlines cause hardship for passengers

Thousands of Pakistanis flock airports in anticipation of ease in travel restrictions


Our Correspondent July 03, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Thousands of Pakistanis, who wanted to return to the country, would have to wait a little longer, as the airlines cancelled the flights for Pakistan after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) extended the restriction of allowing 20% inbound operations for two more weeks.

Several foreign airlines, which operated flights to and from Pakistan, had anticipated lifting of the restrictions because of the dissipating third wave of Covid-19 in the country and had sold normal tickets to the returning passengers.

However, the CAA, on the directive of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), extended the restrictions through an announcement on its website on June 30. The authority on Friday issued a fresh warning to some foreign airlines of “sudden cancellation” of flights to and from Pakistan.

Read CAA keeps ban on passengers from India, BD

The CAA restriction took effect on May 5, curtailing the “inbound international flight operations to 20% of actual Summer-21 Schedule”. The announcement said that the CAA “upon the directive of the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) … extended [the restrictions] up to July 15, 2021”.

After the CAA announcement, the foreign airlines, which had sold tickets to earn revenue without permission from Pakistan, cancelled the flights. According to Express News, thousands of Pakistanis flocked to the airports and complained of mistreatment by these airlines.

Reportedly, the Qatar and Turkish airlines cancelled flights despite selling tickets for Pakistan. According to Express News, 36,000 Pakistanis are waiting for returning to Pakistan in Doha alone, while another 12,000 Pakistanis were in Turkey, still awaiting homeward flight.

To cope with the situation, the Pakistan government is considering the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights to repatriate the citizens. The PIA administration is expected to increase flights from Doha and Dubai to various cities in the country.

(WITH INPUT FROM NEWS DESK)

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