KARACHI: The first-ever Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight to Sydney was postponed for security reasons on Thursday, a day before the scheduled takeoff from Lahore.
The country’s national airline was celebrating its maiden flight to Sydney, which was due to take off on April 22. However, the Australian Department of Home Affairs asked PIA to cancel the flights.
“Australia has decided to review the security situation at Lahore and Karachi airports,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said.
“The PIA administration and the Pakistan Embassy are in full contact with the Australian authorities and extend their full cooperation,” he added. PIA informs passengers of the first two flights via the call center. The second flight, which was scheduled for April 29, has also been postponed. Hafeez said Australians would conduct a review of Lahore and Karachi airports to their satisfaction and could take a week or two to give the go-ahead for the flight management.
However, Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan Director General Khaqan Murtaza dismissed the idea that there were security problems at Lahore and Karachi airports.
“Their [Australia] The CAA has already approved the flights,” Murtaza said. “The reason for the delay may be due to the completion of the Australian Department of Transport’s internal assessment process.” PIA planned to fly twice a week to Australia, which would cut travel time by around a third to and from the depths.
Initially, PIA planned to have two weekly flights – to and from Karachi and Lahore to Sydney. Later, PIA said it might add Islamabad as well. Direct flights would cut a traveler’s time to 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. if flying to Australia or Pakistan respectively.