First flight to Sydney deferred for few days: PIA

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PIA

Karachi: The first flight from Lahore to Sydney, to be operated by PIA, was deferred on Thursday for a few days on the advice of the Australian Homeland Affairs Department as they wanted to reassess the prevailing security situation of the country and review the security apparatus and procedures adopted at Pakistani airports.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was set to operate its first-ever direct flight between Pakistan and Australia on April 22, 2022, initially planning to operate one weekly flight on this route.

Read: PIA announces to launch direct flights to Sydney

There was a strong demand by the Pakistani diaspora residing in Australia who wanted direct flights especially travelling with families forced to take 35 hours long journeys via transiting at Middle Eastern points. With the PIA’s direct flights, the travel duration will only be 12.5 hours.

Necessary permissions were obtained from the Australian Civil Aviation Authority, and flights were mounted in the system and drew healthy loads.

However, in the last moment of development, the Department of Homeland Affairs of Australia, consequent to the detailed assessment of the security protocols adopted at Karachi and Lahore Airports, sought more time and advised PIA to cancel its first two flights, till the time their review is complete.

Speaking on the occasion, the PIA spokesperson confirmed the news, saying that it was an unfortunate development, however in view of our desires for long term sustainable operations to Australia, the PIA would comply with all the regulations and security reviews. Pakistani High Commission in Australia is in constant contact with the concerned authorities for an amicable and expeditious resolution of the matter and has made themselves available for any assistance in this regard. He said the first two flights have been deferred to a later date and all the passengers will be re-accommodated on those flights. PIA Call Centre already started informing the passengers about the change. He further said that all those customers who intend to travel before that can get their tickets refunded without any charge.

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