First flight to travel from Manchester to Islamabad, with around 250 passengers onboard
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will resume flight operations to and from the United Kingdom from Aug. 14, a spokesperson of the state flag carrier announced on Wednesday.
According to spokesperson Abdullah Khan, the first flight, PK9702, would depart for Islamabad from Manchester with around 250 passengers on Aug. 14. He said the next flight, PK9785, would transport passengers from Islamabad to London on Aug. 15.
The spokesperson said PIA was operating these flights with a hired Airbus A330 that had a seating capacity of over 300. He said the hired plane would prominently feature PIA’s call sign and slots.
To a question on concerns about COVID—especially with a recent surge in the U.K.—the spokesperson said that PIA would comply with all standard operating procedures, adding the flights would operate at below-maximum capacity to ensure the safety of travelers and crewmembers against the infection.
Khan said that the flights were being restored due to demand, adding special preference would be given to passengers of Pakistani origins. He said that after the suspension of PIA flights to the U.K., other airlines had increased fares and it was expected that these would come down with the resumption of flights.
State-run Associated Press of Pakistan said that all the seats for the first flight had already been booked, adding booking was currently open for the flight from Islamabad to London. It said each passenger would have a 45kg luggage allowance.
The European Union Air Safety Agency on June 30 suspended PIA’s authorization to operate in its member states for six months following Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan’s claim in Parliament that a third of all Pakistani pilots had “dubious” licenses. The U.K. had followed, claiming it was concerned about Pakistan’s safety protocols.