No Plans to Resume Commercial Flights to Kabul, PIA

September 12, 2021

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) refused on Saturday that commercial flights from Islamabad to Kabul would continue next week. According to AFP, PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan stated earlier today that the airline had received all technical clearances for flight operations. According to the report, the first commercial plane was expected to fly from Islamabad to Kabul on September 13. However, a PIA spokesperson later clarified that the airline was not resuming commercial flights.

In an interview with Voice of America, he stated that there is still some time before resuming flight operations, adding that it is dependent on a slew of factors on the ground that “remain to be managed.” According to the publication, a PIA spokesperson stated that media reports indicating that flights would resume on Monday were “taken out of context.” According to him, some international institutions and missions in Kabul were in regular contact with PIA and had requested charter flights, prompting the airline to seek permission.

“We applied for charter flight permission to Kabul, which was taken up by the media, and they actually said PIA is now resuming its regular flight operation from September 13, which is not the case,” he was quoted as saying in the VOA report. Before flight operations can resume, “certain arrangements” must be in place.

The Kabul airport was badly damaged during a messy departure of over 120,000 people that ended on August 30 with the withdrawal of US forces. With Qatari technical assistance, the Taliban have been finding it hard to get it operational again. Qatar Airways has operated two charter flights out of Kabul in the last two days, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who were unable to leave during the evacuation. Last week, an Afghan airline resumed domestic flights. The PIA had stopped its flights to Afghanistan on August 16 due to the uncertain security situation in the war-torn country and the chaos at Kabul airport’s entrance.

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