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PIA to operate more relief flights to bring back stranded Pakistanis around world

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said on Thursday that it will  operate more relief flights in order to repatriate stranded Pakistanis around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

Following the decision, the PIA administration directed those wishing to board these flights to approach the national airline.

As per the breakdown of the schedule relayed by the airline’s spokesperson, a PIA fight will bring back stranded nationals from Denmark on April 10.

On April 11, three flights will operate, with the first one repatriating 125 Pakistanis from Azerbaijan.

On the same day, another flight will bring back 175 Pakistanis stuck in Kuala Lumpur since 16 days. The flight will also take along Malaysian and Singapore diplomatic staff and citizens, said the PIA spokesperson.

The third flight, scheduled for April 11, will also take French citizens out of Pakistan.

On April 12, a relief flight will set off for Tokyo, carrying Japanese citizens and basic need items.

200 stranded Pakistanis will be repatriated from Bangkok through a relief flight on April 13.

The schedule for flights came after the Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) resolved its dispute with PIA over the alleged non-provision of safety equipment to airline staff members. The pilots’ association had earlier boycotted flight operations over safety concerns.

Despite general suspension of international flight operations under the government’s directives, at the begining of April, the national airline was allowed to repatriate stranded nationals through limited relief flights.

The airline spokesperson informed the media that according to the strategy, all repatriation flights will initially land at the Islamabad airport. Once the flights land, all passengers will be tested in the airport lounges and transferred to a local hotel for six hours, he added.

All passengers who are declared virus-negative will be allowed to proceed home; all others will be shifted to a quarantine.

All flights will be regularly disinfected and PIA will take all protocols to ensure its crew’s safety very seriously, the spokesperson said.

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