On Thursday, PIA’s spokesman Abdullah Hafeez confirmed that the United States Department of Transportation has granted permission to Pakistan International Airlines to conduct direct flights to the United States.
Why couldn’t PIA operate direct flights to the US before?
- Before 9/11, PIA carriers did not have the capacity to make the direct flight, and need to break the journey for refuelling.
- After 9/11, US authorities refused permission for direct flights due to security concerns.
What has the US Department of Transportation outlined?
- PIA will be allowed to operate twelve round-trip, one-way passenger or cargo flights.
- The permission however will expire on the 29th of April, 2021.
- PIA will have to inform the transportation department, in writing, of the route it took for any passenger or cargo chartered flights no less than five business days following the operation.
- For any passenger flight, which is headed to the US from a destination outside Pakistan, PIA will have to inform, in writing, the transportation department of the route it is taking three business days prior to the operation.
- If the airline chooses to operate or change the route of a flight less than three business days before its planned departure, it can request the department to waive off the requirement “upon a showing of good cause”.
- In case a PIA flight is headed to the US from an airport outside Pakistan, it must obtain a security clearance from the Transportation Security Administration.
- Furthermore, the aircraft flying to the US must have the authorisation document issued by the transportation department.