RAWALPINDI: Pakistan International Airlines has announced that it will resume commercial flights to Saudi Arabia on Monday (today) to return stranded Pakistanis after the General Civil Aviation Authority (GACA) of Saudi Arabia has authorised non-Saudis to leave the kingdom and has authorised foreign airlines to operate flights.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said flights will be run by the national flag carrier to carry back Pakistanis stranded abroad.
He said a one-way flight service would be a financial burden on the PIA, but it was also unavoidable to carry back stranded Pakistanis.
The spokesman said the PIA will transport freight to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan.
Air Marshal Arshad Malik, PIA CEO, recently ordered the concerned departments to maintain attractive and fair freight rates.
He also said the PIA had a history of still going ahead in tough times and it was a national duty to bring back Pakistanis stranded overseas.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia announced in a circular that airlines were now allowed to transport non-Saudi passengers outside the Country, taking into account precautionary steps to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.
It further stated: ‘International airlines allowed to operate flights for this reason shall not encourage the crew to leave the aircraft and do not physically touch the ground operating personnel at the airport of arrival, taking into account precautionary steps to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
In December, Saudi Arabia “temporarily” suspended all international commercial flights for one week.
PIA has cancelled its 44 flights to and from Saudi Arabia following the suspension by Saudi Arabia of all international commercial flights.