Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has obtained permission from Saudi authorities to operate increased number of flights to the Kingdom, following which the national flag carrier would be operating 48 flights weekly between different destinations of the two countries.
Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Bilal Akbar made special efforts in getting the permission, while PIA’s Country Manager also called on a senior official of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation Ali Rajab in that regard, PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said in a press statement.
In the light of directives of PIA’s Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik, he said, the number of flights had been increased from 33 to 48.
Elaborating, the spokesman said eight flights each would be operated to Dammam and Madina, nine to Riyadh and 23 to Jeddah, aimed at taking maximum overseas Pakistanis back to their work places after ease of coronavirus related restrictions.
The PIA chief said the national flag carrier had always been at the forefront in meeting the travel needs of Pakistanis. “We will get permission for more flights from the Saudi government, if needed,” he said.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate 48 weekly flights from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.
— Pakistan Aviation News 🇵🇰 (@avpak3) December 6, 2021
Pakistan to increase Hajj quota
The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony was informed on Tuesday that next year’s Pakistan Hajj quota for the year 2022 was being enhanced from 179,210 to 200,000 Hujjaj.
The Committee was informed that the Hajj quota would be distributed at a ratio of 60:40 — 60 percent allocation for Government Hujjaj and 40 percent for Hajj Group Organisers. Hajj quota of 5,000 pilgrims has been allocated to 100 new private companies as well.
The committee was informed that an e-Visa facility would be provided to all Hujjaj. Challenges entailed following health protocols; acceptance of Chinese vaccinations; Pakistan being kept on the Red list and approvals to upscale the Road to Makkah initiative. Since this will predominantly be an IT-based Hajj, finding volunteers that were tuned to rapidly changing IT trends and healthcare practices would be a major concern as well.
Taking up the issue of blacklisted Hajj Group Organisers, the Committee asserted that a uniform policy must be formulated to deal with irregularities.
The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony was Chaired by Senator Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.
APP with additional input by GVS News Desk