Civil Aviation Authority says all other provisions applicable on domestic flight operations from earlier orders to continue
Despite the federal government easing lockdown restrictions across Pakistan—allowing small retailers to reopen as well as industries allied to the construction sector—authorities have decided to extend till May 13 (Wednesday) the existing ban on domestic flight operations in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a notification issued on Sunday, the Civil Aviation Authority said the decision to extend the ban had been taken by the Government of Pakistan. “The suspension of domestic flight operations as effected earlier has been extended upto Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 2359 hours PST,” it said in a posting on Twitter. “Remaining provisions as applicable to the suspension of domestic flights reflected in previous orders remain unchanged.”
After the first case of coronavirus was reported in Pakistan earlier this year, international and domestic flights operations were suspended until April 30, with authorities claiming they would resume once standard operating procedures had been adopted to prevent the virus from spreading among passengers.
Subsequently, the ban on domestic flights was extended to May 7 and then again to May 10. Chartered and cargo flights, as well as special flights operated for relief operations, have been allowed to continue.
Last week, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan announced after a meeting of the National Command and Operation Center that limited domestic flight operations would resume from May 8. However, he added, this was contingent on approval by the National Coordination Committee led by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The prime minister, in a press briefing, said he was ready to order the resumption of flight operations, but provincial governments—especially Sindh and Balochistan—had differed and advised against any haste. The government, however, has yet to issue any SOPs for domestic flights, as it has for international flights.