- Flights will facilitate return of over 400 Pakistanis back to home country
Given unusual congestion and flight delays at Jeddah Airport, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) secured on Friday permission from Saudi Arabian authorities to fly four additional flights to the city.
The special flights will help bring back over 400 people from Saudi Arabia to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. According to an official from PIA, the airline will use Airbus 320 aircraft for the special flights and the pilgrims will return to Pakistan “very soon”.
According to Aaj News, Jeddah Airport has been clogged due to influx of Umrah passengers from all over the world after the kingdom lifted travel restrictions and removed COVID standard operating procedures. Passengers have complained of flight delays, lost baggage, and overcrowded terminal facilities.
This triggered flight delays in all nine terminals of Jeddah Airport. PIA then reached out to General Authority of Civil Aviation for permission to fly four additional flights.
Pakistanis who faced long delays at airports were transported to hotels while pilgrims who landed in Saudi Arabia were shifted to Madinah via coasters.
Meanwhile, Saudi transport chiefs have ordered an investigation into the rush at the airport. Saudi Minister Saleh Al-Jasser has set up an urgent investigation committee led by the head of the General Authority of Civil Aviation to understand what went wrong.
The $9.6-billion King Abdulaziz International Airport opened in 2019. At the moment it can accommodate 30 million annual passengers, and hopes to be able to handle 80 million when its final phase is complete in 2035.