STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

PIA suspends flight operations from Karachi after forcible quarantining of pilots amid COVID-19 fear

The national carrier on Saturday operated two special flights carrying nearly 600 British passengers to Manchester and London.

Published: 06th April 2020 01:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th April 2020 01:46 PM   |  A+A-

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777 aircraft takes off from Karachi airport

A Pakistan International Airlines flight (File photo | AFP)

By PTI

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has suspended its flight operations from Karachi after the Sindh provincial government forcibly quarantined its pilots over fears they might be infected with the coronavirus on their return from the UK, according to a media report.

The national carrier on Saturday operated two special flights carrying nearly 600 British passengers to Manchester and London.

The British nationals were stuck in Pakistan after the government banned international commercial flights from March 21 to April 4 to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES

However, reacting to the quarantining of its pilots, a PIA spokesperson said that the move was "contrary to the directives issued by the Government of Pakistan for aviation staff" and all the officials concerned were informed three hours prior the plane returned from London.

"However, despite instructions, the Sindh health department's officials insisted on forcefully quarantining the pilots," the spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune on Sunday.

The aviation operations from Karachi would remain suspended until there was a consensus on the directives of the federal and provincial governments, the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, PIA Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik said the PIA crew was unfairly treated in Karachi and the reports of the presence of coronavirus in them were misleading, according to the report.

ALSO READ | COVID-19: Pakistan's coronavirus cases reach 3,277, death toll rises to 50; Punjab province worst hit

"The PIA aviation personnel are our national heroes who serve to repatriate trapped Pakistanis despite threats," he said.

"We have ensured all possible safety measures for the aviation staff," he added.

The PIA spokesperson said that the crew is in isolation at a hotel and is awaiting test results.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots' Association has also restrained its pilots from flying, citing inadequate security arrangements for the staff in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and quarantining of the crew.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp