Pakistan International Airlines has cancelled 349 flights in the last two weeks due to a shortage of fuel, it said on Thursday, underscoring the difficulties faced by the cash-strapped national flag carrier.

The flight cancellations since October 14 have affected both domestic and international routes, a PIA spokesperson told Reuters.

The crisis comes after the caretaker government announced it would privatise the airline as part of a fiscal discipline plan agreed under an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout agreed in June.

The airline has accumulated billions of dollars in losses and liabilities, which the interim step-up says it can no longer fund.

Flights are being rescheduled on a daily basis, the company said in a statement, without giving details on how long the crisis would last.

“The flights are being scheduled as per the availability of fuel,” it said.

The PIA and the Pakistan State Oil company (PSO) have been locked in a dispute over payments. The airline says the PSO has suspended its credit line for the fuel and is now releasing supplies only against a daily advance payment.

“The PIA is trying to manage funds,” the statement said, adding that the resumption of the usual schedule would depend on the availability of funds.

It said Canada, Turkiye, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia would be priority destinations when flights resumed and it would keep passengers updated on flight schedules.

PIA flights to Europe and the UK have been suspended since 2020 after the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency revoked the national carrier’s authorisation to fly to the bloc following the pilot licence scandal.

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