ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines suspended its flight operations to Afghanistan’s capital Kabul Thursday after the Taliban authorities demanded a cut in its airfare.
“The decision to keep flying into Kabul was taken on purely humanitarian grounds, and on the strong insistence of friendly organizations,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Niazi said in a statement sent to Anadolu Agency.
He added that the insurance premium on these flights was so high that it was simply “impossible” to operate.
The PIA spokesman denied charging $2,000 or above and said the charter price per seat was $1,500 because of the insurance premium.
The announcement came hours after the Taliban’s Ministry of Transport and Aviation issued a statement, demanding the PIA and Afghanistan domestic airline, Kam Air, reduce the price of tickets for the Kabul-Islamabad flights.
The statement warned that in case of violation, flights of Pakistan International Airlines and Kam Air on the Kabul-Islamabad route will be suspended.
Earlier this week, Kam Air announced it was not allowed to fly from Kabul to Islamabad by Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior over a set of new rules.
Sohrab Amini, deputy director of Kam Air, told local Salam Afghanistan radio that the reason for the new law was not clear and only PIA was flying between Kabul and Islamabad until further notice.