PIA INCREASES FLIGHTS TO KABUL TO HELP EVACUATE FOREIGNERS

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KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), leading in evacuation operations, has increased its number of flights to Kabul as these flights were converted into much bigger aircrafts Boeing 777 for swift airlifting of foreigners after deteriorating situation in the backdrop of Taliban’s takeover.

There was panic witnessed among the foreign missions, world institutions and companies operating there.

Pakistan Embassy in Afghanistan immediately contacted PIA as the national carrier which quickly planned flights to Kabul to assist the repatriation mission. PIA was also approached by the US nationals and foreign missions including of Philippines, Canada, Germany, Japan and Netherlands and other world institutions, international news agencies asking for increased capacity and new flights schedule to evacuate

their citizens, said PIA release here on Wednesday.

PIA’s Chief Executive Officer, comprehending the humanitarian need and taking responsibility as a major regional airline, also offered its support to other nationalities, global institutions and multinational companies wanting to evacuate their citizens from Kabul.

PIA, which was operating five weekly flights of Airbus A320, immediately converted the flights to much bigger Boeing 777s and increased the number to 14 ; catering to increased demand for quick airlift of many foreigners including Pakistanis from Kabul. The permissions and planning was conducted by a specially set up operational desk involving representations of flight operations, flight safety, security and PIA local teams.

PIA’s CEO had been personally supervising the desk and was in contact with Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority, military officials, Pakistan’s Embassy in Kabul and Foreign Affairs.

“In two days we have evacuated nearly 1100 people from Kabul after which the airport was run over by the crowd and all airport set up got dismantled,” the PIA statement said.

PIA has now coordinated with AFCENT and has just resumed its operations to Kabul. The first flight after the take over by Taliban has reached Kabul and was scheduled to evacuate over 320 people of World Bank to Pakistan.

Next missions were already planned and would commence from tomorrow to evacuate other nationalities, including foreign journalists and their aides.