ISLAMABAD: While the government has decided to suspend all domestic passenger flights from March 26, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will not suspend its flights to Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) to accommodate people stranded in Islamabad and to meet emergency needs in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
According to PIA, the government has permitted domestic flight operations to and from Islamabad International Airport and two airports in GB with effect from March 26. However, the suspension of all other domestic flight operations will remain effective.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, a PIA official in GB said that the regional office was earlier told that the flights would be suspended, however, through an urgent email in the evening, the head office informed that the flights would continue. The official said that the decision to continue the flights was probably made after an intervention at the government level as there are many people stranded in the federal capital.
The official said that this decision might have been taken in light of the emergency needs of the remote region as intercity transport service had already been suspended since March 24 to contain the spread of coronavirus.
According to the GB Information Department, a few special buses were arranged by the government to accommodate students stranded in different provinces after educational institutes ordered them to go vacate hostels.
It is worth mentioning here that on Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had announced the suspension of all domestic flights from Thursday with the exception given to cargo and special flights subject to necessary clearance. Moreover, all international flights were suspended on March 22 and would remain suspended till April 4.
The government is currently taking a number of initiatives to counter the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far killed seven people across the country and has infected over 1,000 others.