The Pakistan government has suspended all international flights till April 4. This move comes into effect tonight (Sunday) at 8pm.
This does not mean that Pakistani airspace has been closed, clarified PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan.
He said the move is to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Many cases in Pakistan were reported in people who had travelled to the country from abroad.
The spokesperson said that all flights are being cancelled and tickets will be refunded. If people want to change their tickets, there will be no charges, he said.
In a travel advisory issued on Saturday, the government said this is a temporary suspension imposed due to exceptional circumstances. It said that after the flights resume, RT-PCR test certification from points of origin will not be mandatory.
Diplomats and special cargo or aircrafts are have been exempted. But the advisory says they will be screened on arrival and can be isolated or quarantined if advised by a health professional.
Pakistani missions abroad have been instructed to support all travellers with flights during this suspension period.
Khan said the move was also partially in response to Pakistan’s requirment for all incoming passengers to have coronavirus test certificates, which had caused confusion and difficulties.
We’re going to stop flights until a policy is formed, and maybe things will be better in a week, he said.
He asked people to wait a couple of days to change their tickets. When flights normalise you can re-book them with no additional charges, he said.