A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777 aircraft takes off from Karachi airport on November 11, 2010. — Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: A bomb threat on Thursday forced Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to evacuate 157 passengers and 10 crew from an Airbus preparing to take off for Dubai, officials said.

The plane was preparing for its 11:00 am scheduled departure from Lahore airport when an anonymous caller to the airport claimed there was a bomb on board, PIA spokesman Sultan Hasan told AFP.

Airport security officials evacuated the A310 to search the aircraft, Hasan said.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George said all threats had to be taken seriously although most turned out to be hoaxes.

PIA said flight PK 203 would depart pending clearance, hopefully at 3:00 pm (1000 GMT).

Pakistan's aviation industry has been in the spotlight after a Boeing 737 of private airline Bhoja Air crashed near Islamabad on April 20, killing all 127 people on board.

Last month, a PIA jet was forced to land shortly after takeoff from Karachi after a passenger made a hijack threat.

The state carrier is on the verge of going bust, but provides the only direct services from Pakistan to Britain, Europe and North America.