UAE has announced suspension of all flights from Pakistan. The decision was announced by General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The GCAA has announced that all inbound flights from Pakistan including transit flights will be suspended. The decision has been taken temporarily until Pakistan sets up a special COVID-19 lab to test the travelers from the country, according to media reports.
As the number of Coronavirus cases in Pakistan increased, the UAE has agreed not to accept passengers arriving from Pakistan from June 29 until a separate COVID-19 laboratory has been set up to check them. The decision would also apply to transit flights originating in Pakistan, a tabloid stating cited by PTI.
Emirates Airline, a state flag carrier, already suspended flights to Pakistan effective June 24.The carrier made the call after at least 55 people traveling through the UAE to Hong Kong from Pakistan tested positive for the Coronavirus within days of each other.
“The health and safety of our crew, customers and communities remains our top priority. Emirates has put in place a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey on the ground and in the air, to minimize the risk of infection spread,” the carrier said in a statement. “[We are] coordinating closely with the various authorities and will review and implement any required additional measures to satisfy all parties before we resume services from Pakistan.”
Over a million Pakistanis resided in the UAE before the Coronavirus pandemic. And despite its own travel suspension, Emirates will continue repatriation and cargo flights between the UAE and Pakistan.
“This is a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of all arrivals as of Monday, June 29, 2020,” the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said late on Sunday.
The suspension by the UAE came just days after the publication of an interim report on flight 8303 from Pakistan International Airlines. When the study was released, the civil aviation authority in Pakistan announced that as many as 40 percent of Pakistan’s pilots are unqualified to fly commercially, many of them cheating on exams to obtain their licenses. It is unclear how the international community will respond to this claim though PIA has fired all the pilots it believes to hold a fraudulent pilot license.
The United Arab Emirates has taken strict steps to combat the Coronavirus. Thus when the country expands access to international travelers, which it is expected to do on July 7, there will be a number of strict entry requirements. Passengers will be required to download an app to allow for communication with health officials if they experience symptoms of COVID-19, as Airline Geeks reported.
The GCAA called on all travelers affected by the decision to communicate with their airline to reschedule their flights, the Khaleej Times reported.