Pakistan Approves 30% Increase In International Flight Departures
Following a sharp rise in the number of people infected with COVID-19, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA)…
Following a sharp rise in the number of people infected with COVID-19, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has said that airlines can increase their number of outbound flights from the country. The air transport department of the PCAA issued a notification on Wednesday saying that airlines could fly 30% more International outbound flights.
After looking at the terrible scenes of what is happening in India, medical professionals in Pakistan are worried that a similar scenario could develop in Pakistan. On May 2, with cases in Pakistan rising and the upcoming Eid holiday, the PCAA decided to reduce the number of international flights by 80%.
Flights allowed will be reviewed on May 18
The restrictions came into force on May 5 and will run until May 20. On May 18, the government body set up to respond to the pandemic, The National Command Operation Center (NCOC), will review the infection rate and advise the PCAA about what to do.
In view of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Pakistan, Competent Authority on the directives of Government of Pakistan has decided to reduce/curtail flight operations of Scheduled Airlines by 80% thereby allowing only 20% of the approved schedule for Summer 2021. pic.twitter.com/xVetuk3LYj
— PCAAOfficial (@official_pcaa) May 1, 2021
Details about how the decision shared by the PCAA has impacted flights show that Qatar Airways was previously allowed to operate 56 flights per week. Now Qatar Airways is flying11 times a week between Doha and Pakistan. Likewise, fellow Persian Gulf carrier Gulf Air is down to just eight flights instead of the 35 it previously flew between Bahrain and Pakistan.
Turkish Airways, the most successful airline during the pandemic, is now limited to just three flights per week instead of the 21 it used to fly. Fellow Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines used to fly to Pakistan four times per week but is now allowed only one flight per week.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has seen its flights reduced from 32 to six while Sri Lankan Airways has gone from four flights to two. Thai Airways has gone from 18 to four flights per week.
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The 30% can only carry outbound passengers
On reporting the 30% increase in outbound flights from Pakistan, Karachi-based media conglomerate BOL Network quotes the PCAA as saying the following:
“We have taken the decision in the wake of a crowd and fewer number of available flights.”
The additional flights will only be allowed to carry departing passengers but can carry cargo on inbound flights to Pakistan. According to Pakistan Urdu language news television network SAMAA, a spokesperson for the PCAA said the decision to increase outbound flights was due to an increasing number of passengers looking to leave the country.
Even though the number of COVID-19 infections in Pakistan has stabilized following a rapid rise in April, authorities are worried that the Eid holiday that marks the end of Ramadan could see the number going back up. To help prevent this, the authorities have implemented a partial lockdown, with all non-essential businesses having to close until next week. The big worry, however, is family gatherings to celebrate Eid.
Eid is the big worry
Following the Eid holiday last year, hospitals in Pakistan began to struggle with an influx of people infected with the coronavirus. This year the fear is that the fast-spreading new variant crippling India could do the same to Pakistan.
Compared to other nations, Pakistan has fared well when you consider it has a population of 220 million yet has had only 19,000 deaths related to COVID-19. This could perhaps be due to a younger population, and its cities are not as crowded as those in India.
Regarding the 30% increase in outbound flights, why can’t they carry inbound passengers if the people on the plane meet Pakistans’ COVID-19 requirements?
What do you think about Pakistan allowing 30% more outbound flights? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.