PIA expects to resume direct flights to US from May

Updated January 22, 2020

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Initially, three PIA flights a week will take off for New York, but the number will be increased with time. — AFP/File
Initially, three PIA flights a week will take off for New York, but the number will be increased with time. — AFP/File

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) expects to resume direct flights to the United States from May this year "subject to a final clearance by the US Transportation Security Administration", the national flag carrier's spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez told Dawn.com on Wednesday.

Hafeez said Pakistan had complied with all recommendations of the transport authority, such as using screening machines at major airports including Islamabad and Karachi.

He said negotiations between the US administration and the national airline had been underway for two years, adding that "from our end we have taken all measures that were advised". A delegation of the US transport authority is expected to issue a final clearance in May, he said.

He said PIA had already readied a flight plan according to which initially three flights a week will take off for New York, but the number will be increased with time.

According to the PIA official, the US transport security authority had conducted an audit of security arrangements of the PIA fleet and at the country's major airports. US homeland security had also visited Pakistan in this regard, he said.

Owing to security concerns, the US did not allow any direct flight that originated at a Pakistani airport into its airspace. In October 2017, the PIA had discontinued its flights to the US because of rising operational cost and in a bid to cut losses it had been facing.


Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that final permission for flights to the US had been granted. However, a final review by the US transport authority is pending, and will take place in May, according to the PIA spokesperson. The error is regretted.