Pakistan partially resumes domestic flights as national blockade eased

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan gradually resumed domestic flight operations on Saturday as the government eased the national blockade imposed to stem the spread of the killing of more than 830 people in the country.

The resumption of domestic flight services from five major airports on Saturday came when the Pakistani government said last week that it would begin a gradual lift of the blockade due to its effect on the economy and the workforce, Geo News reported.

The first Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight with 84 passengers departed from Karachi to Lahore at 1pm along with flights to Lahore and Islamabad via private airlines, the report said.

The top five airports authorized to restart operations include Karachi Jinnah International Airport, Lahore Airport, Airport (IIAP), Quetta International Airport, and Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar.

A spokesperson for the (PCCA) said the domestic flights will be operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and a private company for now.

The ban on international flight operations, meanwhile, has been extended until May 31.

However, the PCCA maintains close control of passengers before boarding the flight to ensure there are no further increases in COVID-19 cases.

Passengers will be required to fill out health declaration forms before boarding the plane and will undergo a thermal scan upon entering and leaving a city. All luggage will be disinfected and no greeting or greeting will be allowed at airports, the report said. .

Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan previously said that social distancing will be followed based on available seats and that flights will only be allowed to fill 50 percent of their full capacity, according to the report.

Pakistan said on Saturday it reported 1,581 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's total infections to 38,799 with 834 deaths.