PIA suspends flight operation to Kabul

Aug 16, 2021: Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) Kabul operation has been suspended due to security uncertainty at Kabul Airport.

According to the PIA spokesperson, the decision was taken due to lack of full security and airport staff at Kabul airport and crowds on the runway. The PIA made the decision after consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Afghan Civil Aviation.  PIA said flights have been postponed indefinitely to protect passengers, crew and assets.

It should be noted that after the Taliban took control of Kabul, the PIA had announced to run additional flights for the evacuation of citizens from Afghanistan. There are those who want to leave Afghanistan, PIA had announced that 3 flights would go to Kabul on Monday, August 16. A total of about 900 Pakistanis and other foreigners would be evacuated from Kabul by three flights.

PIA through Pakistani Foreign Ministry they had also sought permission for more special flights, but now the operation has been postponed due to the security uncertainty.

Meanwhile major airlines are rerouting flights to avoid Afghanistan’s airspace after the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul as US-led forces departed and Western nations scrambled to evacuate their citizens.

Airlines and governments have paid close attention to the dangers of flying in conflict zones after two deadly ground-to-air incidents in recent years. A Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board, and a Ukraine International Airlines plane was shot down by the Iranian military in 2020, killing all 176 passengers and crew.

Commercial flights set to land in Afghanistan have also been affected by the chaos on the ground. Emirates has suspended flights to Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, until further notice, the airline said on its website.

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