Pakistan’s national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), on Tuesday got permission from the United Kingdom to operate three additional flights to Britain ahead of April 09 when it will ban entry of people arriving from four countries, including Pakistan.
From 4 a.m. on April 9, Pakistan, Kenya, the Philippines and Bangladesh will be put on a red list, the UK government said on Friday, joining about three dozen other nations mainly in Africa, the Middle East and South America.
“PIA has arranged three more flights to meet the demand for UK before the ban, while permits have been sought for two more,” PIA said in a handout. “With these flights, the total number of additional PIA flights before April 8 will be five.”
The new flights will fly to Manchester on April 7 and 8 and to London on April 8, PIA said, adding that PIA booking offices would remain open 24 hours.
“People are desperately trying to go back to the UK before April 9, we have requested four additional flights to the UK, and we sincerely hope that we will get permission by today or tomorrow,” PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan told Arab News on Monday.
He said PIA would be able to take another 1,000 passengers to the UK if its government allowed the four additional flights.
British Pakistanis form one of the largest expat communities in the UK. Days before the start of Ramadan, when many British Pakistanis travel to be with their families for the holy month and Eid, travelers from Pakistan have been told they will be denied entry and have to pay for expensive 10-day UK hotel quarantine at designated sites.