RAWALPINDI: With Covid-19 spreading in the country again, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) on Monday extended implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for inbound and domestic passengers on board chartered and private flights until July 5, 2021.

The director (Air Transport & Economic Regulations) notified that these SOPs which had been effective from March 23 have now been extendedtill July 5, 2021.

The notification also stated that the categorised country lists conveyed on April 4, 2021 will also continue to remain effective accordingly.

All the ground-handling agents concerned, private operators and scheduled and chartered airline operators have been directed to ensure strict compliance with SOPs.

Besides this, a fresh list of countries in categories A, B and C was notified and a travel ban was imposed on countries included in category C; the number of countries in this category was increased from 12 to 22 due to spread of the new coronavirus variant.

There will be a complete ban on inbound travel to Pakistan from category C countries, including withdrawal of exemptions earlier provided to Pakistani passport holders, NICOP holders and POC holders.

The United Kingdom has been shifted from category C to category B as per the updated list, spokesman for the Aviation Division said.

Separately, keeping in view problems being faced by people who need to travel back to the UK before April 9, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) received permission to operate two additional flights from Islamabad to Manchester.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said the national flag carrier had already decided to operate extra flights before April 9 for which it had sought permission to operate two extra flights in order to facilitate Pakistani migrants who had been facing rush due to heavy booking.

He said the first extra flight will be operated on April 7 at 2.30am. All passengers who did not reserve their seats have been requested to contact the PIA offices, he said.

Following the directives of CEO Arshad Malik, the PIA booking offices will remain open till 10pm to facilitate passengers.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2021

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