RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan International Airlines has announced its decision to operate cargo flights to Saudi Arabia to boost exports.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said that fruits, vegetables and meat were exported to Saudi Arabia and the delivery of these products by air would save time.
He said the decision to operate cargo flights to Saudi Arabia had been taken as exports from Pakistan were likely to be affected because of a ban imposed by Riyadh on international passenger flights.
Mr Hafeez said the cargo fares had been kept very attractive and reasonable on the orders of PIA’s Chief Executive Officer Arshad Malik. The first flight with 42 tonnes of cargo departed for Jeddah on Tuesday, he said.
The PIA had already started cargo flights to China.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation has already issued a circular to all airlines operating in the Kingdom to temporarily suspend international flights for one week.
After receiving the circular, the PIA immediately suspended its flights scheduled to operate on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad International Airport administration with the help of health authorities has put in place strict measures to prevent spread of the new wave of coronavirus as every inbound passenger from the United Kingdom is being subjected to a check-up.
An official said that a swab of every passenger arriving from the UK even by an indirect flight was being taken and the passengers were advised for one-week quarantine at their homes. They were only allowed to go after giving their addresses and whereabouts, he added.
The government has already allowed the passengers holding Pakistani passports and business, visitor and transit visas issued by the British authorities to travel back to Pakistan while keeping a negative polymerase chain reaction test report conducted within the 72 hours prior to commencement of travel to Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2020