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PIA operated 13 special flights ahead of UK travel ban: SAPM Bukhari

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has operated thirteen special flights to the United Kingdom ahead of a travel ban being imposed from April 9.

Special Assistant to the PM for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari thanked the PIA for operating 13 special flights to UK with more to come.

He said it has been a tough time for people especially overseas Pakistanis returning to UK. He lauded the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and PIA on working together to facilitate people.

PIA on Tuesday got permission from the UK to operate three additional flights to Britain ahead of April 9 when it will ban entry of people arriving from four countries including Pakistan.

“PIA has arranged three more flights to meet the demand for the UK before the ban, while permits have been sought for two more,” PIA said in a handout. “With these flights, the total number of additional PIA flights before April 8 will be five.”

The new flights will fly to Manchester on April 7 and 8 and to London on April 8, the airline said, adding that PIA booking offices would remain open 24 hours.

“People are desperately trying to go back to the UK before April 9, we have requested four additional flights to the UK, and we sincerely hope that we will get permission by today or tomorrow,” PIA spokesperson said.

“By now we have operated three flights and we have transported nearly 900 passengers [to the UK],” Khan said, adding that PIA planned to operate four more flights to the UK until April 7. “We are hopeful to accommodate 1,000 more passengers.”

He said that PIA would be able to take another 1,000 passengers to the UK if its government allowed the four additional flights.