Iraqi govt withdraws special permission from PIA for carrying Arbaeen pilgrims

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KARACHI: The Government of Iraq has cancelled the special permission granted to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for operating flights to Najaf and Baghdad for carrying the pilgrims of Arbaeen. 

PIA on Monday announced that its scheduled flights to these holy cities in Iraq will be cancelled owing to the suspension of special permission granted for operating them by the Iraqi government considering the threat of the second wave of Covid-19.

“Flights scheduled for Arbaeen from September 27, now have been cancelled”, said the PIA spokesperson. The announcement also added that the passengers can get the refund of their tickets without any deductions.

The national flag carrier was scheduled to operate flights from September 27 till October 5 to Najaf and Baghdad from Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.

Earlier, PIA had decided to schedule these special flights on the orders of Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan with the objective of facilitating the travels of pilgrims. 

Last week, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had cautioned the airlines of strict action over the continuous violations of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) reported and issued a fresh travel advisory.

The aviation authority’s transport wing cited violation of the coronavirus SOPs by airlines despite strict implementation orders from the national command and operations centre (NCOC) forum. 

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