PIA has Operated its First Chartered Commercial Flight to Afghanistan after Evacuation
September 13, 2021
According to a PIA spokesman, the airline operated its first commercial flight to Kabul, Afghanistan, since the Taliban took over the country last month. The Boeing 777, flight number PK 6429, took off from Islamabad, Pakistan, as a commercial flight chartered by the World Bank, carrying bank officials and journalists, according to airline spokesman Abdullah H. Khan. The plane eventually returned to Islamabad.
This was the first PIA flight to land in Kabul following the end of the foreign troop withdrawal and large-scale evacuation of Afghans on August 31. Khan told Reuters, “It was a special chartered commercial flight.” “Because we had space on the plane, we also accepted other individuals who wanted to leave Afghanistan.” He went on to say that it was a commercial flight that used regular airport infrastructure that had been restored.
“This operation is critical for PIA and the entire world,” said PIA Chief Operating Officer Arshad Malik in a statement. “We hope to be able to resume full operations soon”. According to airport ground staff, approximately 70 people were on the flight to Islamabad, the majority of who were Afghan relatives of staff members with international organizations such as the World Bank.
“I’m going to be evacuated. “My final destination is Tajikistan,” a 35-year-old World Bank evacuee who declined to give her name said. “I will return only if the situation permits women to work and move freely.” A 22-year-old university student announced a one-month trip to Pakistan. “It’s almost like a vacation. I’m both sad and happy. “I’m sad about the country, but I’m glad to get away for a while,” he said.
The continuation of commercial flights will be a major litmus test for the Taliban, who have repeatedly promised to allow Afghans with the proper documentation to leave the country freely. Airport staff went about their duties as passengers prepared to board, despite the fact that working under the new regime is fraught with fear and confusion for women. “I’m not sure if we’ll be killed for working here,” one of the two women operating the security scanning machine told AFP. On September 9, Qatar Airways operated a chartered flight from Kabul to Doha, carrying approximately 113 passengers.