- PIA to operate a special flight to bring back Pakistanis from China
BEIJING/KARACHI: About 13 passengers of the Shaheen Air International (SAI) stranded in China’s Guangzhou city have been issued tickets of the Sri Lankan Airline and they would fly for Lahore via Colombo on Saturday night.
These passengers would fly at 3:00am from Guangzhou to Colombo on the Sri Lankan Airline flight UL 885 and reach Lahore at 0045am on August 6, officials said. Currently, all the passengers were staying at the Holiday Villa Hotel near the Guangzhou Airport at the expense of the Shaheen Air, according to the officials.
The passengers, who were in good health, were being looked after well and served with the Halal food, they said. The officials of the Consulate General of Pakistan in Guangzhou and Pakistan Embassy in Beijing are in close contact with the passengers, meeting them on a regular basis and looking after their well-being.
The consul general has also served as a liaison between the passengers and the Shaheen Air in view of the current situation and are working closely with the SAI management to find an early solution of the problem. The embassy and Consulate General are in contact with the local branch of the Foreign Affairs Office in Guangzhou to facilitate the passengers whose visas have expired.
A private TV channel reported that the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has decided to operate a special flight to bring back more than 300 stranded Pakistanis from Guangzhou. As many as, 300 Pakistanis were left stranded in the Chinese port city after their flight was abruptly cancelled on July 29, following a dispute over payment of arrears totaling over Rs1.5 billion between the airline and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The airline’s international operations, except Hajj flights, were suspended several days ago by the CAA owing to the mounting debt. The stranded citizens continue to face immense difficulties amid blame game between the Civil Aviation Authority and the Shaheen Air. A few of them have also reportedly fallen sick as they continue to wait their return home for the past six days.
However, the national flag-carrier has now decided to reach out to the stranded countrymen. The officials said that the PIA chief executive officer has directed the authorities to make arrangements to bring back the Pakistanis from China. A Shaheen Air spokesperson confirmed that they have contacted the PIA for bringing back the stranded passengers. It said that the decision was made at a meeting between the Shaheen Air and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials.
Speaking exclusively to the Geo News, CAA Director General Hassan Baig said that the Shaheen Air has not yet submitted any application for a chartered plane. He said that they were ready to take every possible measure to bring back stranded countrymen from China. He said that hosepipe of the Shaheen Air’s aircraft needs to be replaced, and without that, they could not risk operating a flight using the plane.
He said that he was continuously in touch with the Shaheen Air’s chairman and seeks to resolve the issue. A Shaheen Air spokesperson said that arranging a chartered plane and getting an approval from the CAA would take more time. Earlier, the airline was granted special permission by the CAA to bring back the stranded Pakistanis from China after the private TV channel brought to light the plight of the stranded passengers.