KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) resumed direct flights to and from the northeast city of Mashhad after a five-year hiatus in a bid to “develop people to people contacts and boost religious tourism” with Iran, Radio Pakistan reported on Thursday.
According to the details, flight PK-119 departed from Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore with 165 passengers at 12:45 am Thursday and landed at Mashhad International Airport at 2:00 am.
PIA spokesperson Abdullah Niazi told Iran’s state-owned IRNA news agency that direct flights from Karachi to Mashhad will begin from Saturday.
Responding to the development, PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arshad Malik said the move will provide direct and easy travel facilities to the people in Pakistan looking to travel to Iran.
He further said the national flag carrier will remain at the forefront to ensure pilgrims can visit the holy places in Iran with ease.
On the other hand, Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said the two nations have agreed to promote air cooperation.
At present, state-owned Iran Air operates one weekly flight between Tehran and Karachi. Reports suggested Mahan Air, a private airline operating out of Iran, will begin direct operations from Tehran and Mashhad to Lahore.