ISLAMABAD: A special flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Wednesday brought back 136 Pakistanis stranded in Iraq.
Flight PK-9814 reached Islamabad in the morning, where a team of doctors examined and screened the passengers.
Upon their arrival, the passengers and the crew were quarantined at a local hotel whereas one passenger was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) due to high fever.
According to the authorities, blood samples of the passengers and crew will be taken at the hotel and only those who test negative for coronavirus will be allowed to go home.
Yesterday, PIA pilots had refused to fly until the provision of PPEs. The refusal followed an earlier incident wherein two pilots and an air hostess, aboard an aircraft returning from Canada, tested positive.
PK-9813, travelling from Islamabad to Baghdad, was to fly back 161 Pakistanis who gathered at the Baghdad airport from various Iraqi cities. However, the pilots reportedly did not arrive at the airport despite repeated assurances from PIA high-ups regarding the provision of protective gear.
The refusal came following an ongoing standoff between the PIA and the Pakistan Air Line Pilots’ Association (Palpa) after the three crewmembers contracted the virus.
The association had also protested the non-provision of safety equipment to the carrier’s crew by the PIA.
However, later in the day, pilots agreed to resume flight operations after the management of the national flag carrier, during a meeting chaired by the aviation division secretary, accepted their demand to provide crewmembers personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow other standard operating procedures (SOPs) in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.