BEIJING: Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has made all arrangements to start direct weekly passenger flights between Islamabad and Chengdu, Capital of China’s Sichuan province from July 6 (Wednesday).
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has accorded a formal approval to PIA to operate its weekly flights on Islamabad-Chengdu route, well-informed sources confirmed on Saturday.
Chengdu is the third destination other than Beijing for the national flag carrier. In March, PIA was allowed to operate flights for Chinese cities of Xian and Guangzhou from Pakistan. Previously, the state-run airline was allowed to conduct flight operations for Beijing only.
According to the schedule, PK-870, the first flight for the new destination, will take off from Islamabad International Airport at 8 am on July 6, which will touch down at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 4 pm local time after a flight duration of approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes.
The same day, PK-871 will depart from Chengdu at 6 pm local time and will reach Islamabad at 8:20 pm local time after a flight of 5 hours and 20 minutes.
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The final decision on resumption of direct flights between Pakistan and China operated by PIA was taken at a meeting between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and China’s State Councilor, Wang Yi in Guangzhou, China in May.
The two leaders also agreed on the increase of direct flights between the two countries.
PIA has already resumed its weekly passenger flights on between Islamabad and Xian. The new direct flights are expected to enhance trade and education cooperation between Pakistan and Sichuan, which already have multiple linkages.
Pakistani business community and students studying in China have also expressed pleasure over the launch of flights on Islamabad-Chengdu route.