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PIA suspends flight operations to Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has suspended flights to Kabul over the “unprofessional attitude” of Taliban authorities.

According to Abdullah Hafeez Khan, the PIA spokesman said in a statement, “Our flights frequently faced undue delays because of the unprofessional attitude of the Kabul aviation authorities.”

The route will remain suspended until “the situation becomes conducive,” he added.

In a separate statement, the spokesperson emphasised the fact that the PIA had kept flying in and out of Kabul under “difficult circumstances” when others had ceased their operations.

“The PIA evacuated around 3,000 people after the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan,” said the PIA spokesperson, adding that among the people flown out of Kabul were officials of the United Nations, World Bank, the IMF, other global organisations as well as international journalists.

The spokesperson said that the PIA’s captains and staff endangered their lives but still kept the evacuation process going.

But the airline said the flight operation was “not very lucrative financially” and it was only operating flights on “humanitarian grounds”.

“We would pay more than $400,000 as insurance premium which could only be possible if 300 passengers are available,” Khan said.

Earlier, it was reported that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has started considering the decision to stop the Kabul flight operations, in the wake of interruption in flight operations and lack of cooperation from the Afghan government.

The national flag carrier is one of the few airlines operating flights to the neighbouring country.

Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) called on PIA and Kam Air airlines to bring down the fares of Kabul-Islamabad flights back to the pre-August 15 rates.

The ACAA also threatened to stop flights between Kabul and Islamabad if the airlines do not comply.

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