The country’s aviation minister has said the national flag carrier – the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) – will resumes flights on all national and international routes from Monday, August 10, in view of declining number of coronavirus infections and fatalities
“The PIA has also reduced its fares by 14% on the independence day [which falls on August 14]. It has also increased the luggage limit from 50kg to 73kg,” Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said on Saturday while talking to media at the ruling PTI’s public secretariat in the garrison city.
The minister also spoke with reference to May 22 crash of a PIA passenger flight in Karachi and said each passenger on the ill-fated A320 aircraft was insured for Rs 5million. He said the government has decided to increase the insurance amount for each passenger to Rs 10 million.
“Rs1 million has already been paid to heirs of each passenger,” the minister said. Ninety-seven (97) people including 8 crew members had perished in the deadly crash that took place few hundred meters away from the Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.
To a question about Pakistani pilots with allegedly fake licenses, the minister said a total of 219 pilots had been grounded in the wake of the incident. “191 of the pilots have been suspended by issuing show cause notices while 28 have been sacked,” he said.
He said the present government is cleaning the mess created by the previous governments as these pilots were neither recruited by the government nor they were issued licenses during its tenure.
Sharing findings of air crash investigation in June, the minister had revealed that around 300 Pakistani pilots had dubious licenses – a revelation followed by aviation authorities in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) suspending the PIA flight operations in their territories for 6 months.
He said after the EU and the US imposed restrictions on PIA flight operations, the government arranged charter flights to bring back Pakistanis stranded aboard. “We have prepared appeal against these bans and will file them by the next week,” he added.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the government has allocated Rs6 billion for acquiring land for Ring Road Project, work on which will start in the current fiscal year.
He said the land acquisition process would start after the lunar month of Muharram while the project would complete at a cost of Rs55 billion. “The 64-km-long road would start from the Radio Pakistan office at Rawat on the GT road and end at Sangjani (N-5) via the New Islamabad Airport,” he said.
He said over Rs160 billion were distributed among 13 million families under the Prime Minister Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme to provide them financial assistance during coronavirus pandemic. He said it was the largest relief package in the national history.
“Due to effective policies of the government, the coronavirus pandemic in the country is now under control,” he added.
With additional input from APP