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PIA to halt flights to US from October 31

PIA to halt flights to US from October 31

PIA to cut jobs and discontinue flights to the United States due to financial losses

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has decided to discontinue its flights to United State, airline is no longer booking US flights through its reservation system after October 31.

According to the media news, PIA had been incurring losses of up to Rs 1.25 billion annually due to its US operations which provoked the management to discontinue the flights.

The national flag carrier is already facing acute financial crunch, therefore, it cannot operate on routes which are running in losses,” the official said, adding that the PIA’s accumulative loss was over Rs300 billion.

PIA had been operating flights to the US since 1961 without any disruption. A total of five weekly flights to New York and three other US cities were being operated.

Mashood Tajwar PIA spokesperson said that we are currently running two flights to New York every week and this is going to continue until a formal decision is taken.

Tajwar said due to the requirements by the US authorities the New York-bound flights have to make a short stopover in Manchester to clear the necessary security checks.

Sources privy to the matter said the airline had decided several times in the past to discontinue US flights due to the financial losses; however, it faced ‘political pressure’ each time, which hindered its plans.

Some politicians holding dual citizenship, top government officials and pilots exerted “pressure” on the airline not to stop its US flight operations. These flights were “beneficial” to the politicians and officials, the sources said.

According to the media reports, PIA, after stopping direct flights to the US, will enter into a code-sharing agreement with an American airline. US-bound passengers will be flown to London, where they will then be transferred to the American airline which will take them to the US.

Such a code-sharing agreement will help PIA to avoid financial losses, the report said.

Moreover, the PIA management has also decided to cut more than 500 jobs under the latest plan.

About Saqlain Naqvi

Saqlain Naqvi is an Islamabad-based journalist who has also worked in PR sector previously.
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