RAWALPINDI: Etihad Airways on Thursday suspended its flight operations from Pakistan, a day after several passengers who had travelled to Hong Kong by another airliner tested positive for Covid-19.
Etihad Airways is the third airline of the UAE after Fly Dubai and Emirates to have temporarily suspended its flight operation for outbound passengers.
An official of Etihad Airways, who didn’t give his name, told Dawn that the outbound flights of Etihad Airways had been suspended till July 1. He didn’t give any reason for the suspension of flight operations from Pakistan, but hinted that the suspension of outbound flights might be extended. However, he added, inbound flights would continue to operate for Pakistan.
Etihad Airways resumed its two weekly flights from Karachi and Lahore on June 13 after a gap of 55 days and was planning to operate flights from Islamabad. The airline earlier suspended flights to Pakistan on March 21 to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, refuting reports of suspension of its passenger services, a spokesman from Qatar Airways told Dawn that the airline's operations to and from Pakistan are continuing.
Suspension of Etihad flight operations till July 1 won’t affect inbound flights
Earlier, Fly Dubai had suspended its flight operations for Pakistan till August 1 due to the spread of coronavirus. A senior official of Fly Dubai said special flights to repatriate UAE nationals were still operating from Pakistan.
Just a day ago, Emirates, which had been operating flights from Pakistan to Dubai, had temporarily suspended passenger service from the country until next week. However, Emirates will continue to operate repatriation flights into Pakistan as per announced schedule and continue to operate cargo services. A spokesman for the airline said: "Following the announcement of positive Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong relating to certain passengers who travelled on our flights, Emirates has taken the decision to temporarily suspend passenger services from Pakistan."
Correction: This story had earlier erroneously reported that Qatar Airways had also suspended its flight operations to Pakistan. The error is regretted.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2020