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KARACHI: Pakistan has decided to shrink inbound international flight operations to 20 percent amid high disease prevalence in various parts of the world and the current Covid-19 situation in the country. According to the revised inbound air travellers policy issued by National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the government of Pakistan has decided to reduce inbound international air traffic significantly and would operate at 20 percent of the total current quantum. The document stated that international carriers

operated around 590 weekly inbound flights in Pakistan, which now reduced to 123 inbound flights or 20 percent of the current quantum.

Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad airports claim 74.4 percent of the total current quantum of inbound international air traffic by handling 189, 130, and 120 weekly inbound flights, respectively.

Now, these airports have reduced their inbound international air traffic to 20 percent; Karachi would now handle 40 weekly inbound flights while Lahore and Islamabad would entertain 29 and 25 weekly inbound flights, respectively.

As a result of the said decision, the most affected foreign airlines would be Air Arabia (60 weekly flights), Saudia airlines (77), Qatar Airways (56), Emirates (67), Fly Dubai (78), Etihad Airways (32), British Airways (11), Fly Nas (14), Gulf Air (35), Oman Air (18), Saudi Gulf (18), Thai Airways (18), Turkish Airline (21) and Virgin Atlantic Airline (11).

Furthermore, the government has made no change in existing Category C list countries. Pakistani passport holders (stranded/short-term visa) are allowed to travel to Pakistan subject to exemption by the committee as per procedures.

All inbound travellers to Pakistan, including Cat C list countries, have to follow the standard procedures, which include negative RT PCR test before travelling to Pakistan (maximum 72 hours old), rapid antigen testing on arrival at airports in Pakistan, ten days of self-quarantine at home for negative cases, positive cases will be shifted to the self-paid facility for ten days quarantine with TTQ of contacts (if any), mandatory registration on Passtrack App by all inbound travellers before travelling to Pakistan, etc.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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