PIA revising flight schedule to accommodate expats in UAE

Javed MirzaWeb Editor

14th Jul, 2021. 03:45 pm

KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is revising the flight schedule to and from the UAE to accommodate the incoming Pakistanis, as the fares from Dubai to all major Pakistani cities have skyrocketed with the expats rushing back home for the long Eid break.

A flight to Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city, can set passengers back by Dh4,000 to Dh6,000. Lahore comes in cheaper at around Dh1,300, while Islamabad can cost anywhere between Dh800 to Dh1,500, Gulf News reported.

“We are revising the flight schedule to [the] UAE, which will be issued tomorrow (Thursday). We are hoping to increase flights to cater to the demand,” a spokesperson for the national flag carrier said, adding that PIA’s fares have not changed.

Owing to the prevailing Covid-19 situation across the globe and with the view to curb the spread of the disease in Pakistan, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Pakistan, on the directives of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), curtailed inbound international flight operations to 20 per cent of actual summer 2021 schedule to Pakistan with effect from May 5, 2021 and extended up to July 15, 2021.

The passenger flights from Pakistan to Dubai will remain suspended till July 21, a Dubai-based airline, Emirates, said on its website on Monday. The suspension of inbound passenger flights from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the UAE has also been extended till July 21. The Abu Dhabi-based airline, Etihad Airways, had already extended its suspension of flights from the South Asian countries till July 21, 2021.

The schedules on booking websites show that Emirates, flydubai, and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways are only operating flights to Karachi at the moment. The Pakistan International Airlines seems to be connecting Dubai and Abu Dhabi to all other major cities.

With a population of over 1.5 million, Pakistanis are the second largest national group in the UAE after Indians, constituting 12.5 per cent of the country’s total population.

In the last five years, 1.3 million Pakistanis have found jobs in the UAE. In 2019 alone, Pakistani expatriates in the UAE sent more than $5 billion back home.

The international inbound flights were enhanced to 40 per cent only for direct flights from the UK, Canada, Europe, Malaysia and China with effect from July 1, 2021.

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