PIA to operate 35 weekly flights to Saudi from December 1

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has unveiled its schedule following the lifting of most coronavirus-related suspensions, announcing to operate direct flights to and from Saudi Arabia from December 1 after Riyadh permitted direct operations from the kingdom.

The flag carrier will operate as many as 35 weekly flights between the Saudi cities of Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh, Dammam and Al Qassim; and Lahore, Multan, Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar in Pakistan.

The airline has also launched its booking operation for the kingdom.

Riyadh has granted permission to six countries, including Pakistan, to operate direct flights into the Kingdom.

It is mandatory for Pakistan travellers to undergo a five-day quarantine period after landing in Saudi cities, however.

Earlier this week, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry announced that Saudi Arabia had decided to allow direct flights from Pakistan from December 1 following the lifting of a Covid-related suspension of flights.

In a tweet, Chaudhry said the directive would become effective from Wednesday (December 1).

Saudi authorities withdrew the ban on flights from six nations — Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Bra­­zil and Vietnam — announcing that passengers from these countries will no longer be required to undergo the previously-mandatory two-week quarantine in a third country.

Saudi Arabia had issued temporary restric­tions on travellers from the countries who had not received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the kingdom.

A directive, issued by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to all airlines operating in the airports said: “Allowing direct entry to the kingdom from the Republic of Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Pakis­tan, Federal Republic of Brazil, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Arab Republic of Egypt, (and) India, without the need to stay 14 days outside these countries before entering the kingdom.”

“Institutional quarantine procedures must be applied for a period of 05 days, regardless of passengers’ immunisation status outside the kingdom, with the continued application of exceptions issued regarding some groups in this regard.”

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