Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is once again ready to resume flights from Islamabad to major cities of USA such as New York, Chicago and Houston.
These flights were cancelled a year and half ago because due to security concerns direct flights from Islamabad or other Pakistani cities were not allowed. PIA continued the flights through British airports which are declared clear by Transport Security Administration (TSA).
This long route became costly for PIA which ended the flights due to losses, this affected Pakistani diaspora in USA. They were forced to travel through other airlines, change terminals and flights and then reach Pakistan.
Now a team of TSA from USA is invited by PIA to the new Islamabad International Airport so that the airport can be declared clear for direct operations to USA. It is expected that the team will be in Pakistan on 17 and 18 July, 2019.
If PIA succeeds in getting clearing from TSA then the duration of flight between Pakistan & USA will be reduced to 18 hours while currently passengers have to bear a journey of up to 24 hours.
PIA was the first airline in the region which connected USA not only with Pakistan but also with mainland China & Far East. The service was started by PIA in 1961 and remained active until October 2017.
PIA Chief Air Marshal Malik said that ‘security situation in Pakistan had improved tremendously and relevant aviation and security agencies of Canada and European countries had shown their confidence over the recent developments’.
He hopes that TSA team will also be satisfied with the arrangements at Islamabad International Airport after which it will get clearance and approval from TSA, IATA and other agencies.
It is expected that PIA ticket price and charges will be more affordable than fares of other privately owned airlines. The timing and schedule of flights will be revealed after airport is declared clear.