Pakistan to resume outbound international flights from today

River Neelam Pakistan

Pakistan will allow outbound international flights to resume from Saturday, after closing its airspace to commercial flights to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Both national and foreign airlines shall be allowed to operate from all international airports of Pakistan,” Abdul Sattar Khokhar, Senior Joint Secretary at the Civil Aviation Authority, said in a statement.

Reuters has reported that two remote airports in southern Baluchistan province will be exempted from the operations.

On Friday, Pakistan reported the largest one-day spread of the infection, with 2,636 cases and 57 deaths in the last 24 hours. Pakistan has recorded a total of 64,028 cases.

“The airlines may carry passengers from Pakistan to international destinations,” Khokhar said, adding that flights to Pakistan could carry cargo but not passengers.

International and local flights have been suspended since March, with exemptions for some flights to enable international repatriation in and out of Pakistan.

Domestic operations had already resumed this month. Those flights included a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 that crashed into a residential neighbourhood of Karachi on May 22, killing 97 on board.

Despite a rising rate of infection, Pakistan has rolled back almost all lockdown measures primarily to avert an economic meltdown, Reuters said.

Khokhar, however, said the passengers will have to follow standard precautions to help contain the virus for both local and international flights.