Thursday, May 23, 2024

Int’l airlines directed by CAA to accommodate passengers affected by flight cancellations at the ‘earliest’

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International airlines were directed by the Civil Aviation Authority on Friday to accommodate passengers affected by their recent flight cancellations with  “earliest possible flights”.

“Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has taken serious notice against foreign airlines i.e. Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Fly Dubai for causing inconvenience to passengers by flight cancellations in recent weeks,” said the CAA, in a statement on Twitter.

The aviation authority said that it has noticed that a large number of passengers were issued confirmed tickets but their flights were cancelled. It added that the move has caused “unrest” and “inconvenience” to the passengers.

The CAA said that “such reservations should have been made after confirmation of lifting of restrictions only”.

“A substantial number of the affected passengers have been facing great nuisance and financial losses whether it be hotel accommodation or living expenses as they had planned their departure from foreign countries to Pakistan as per their reserved/ confirmed flight departure date,” said the CAA.

The authority asked the airlines to accommodate the affected passengers at the “earliest possible flights of the same airline or other airlines for travel to Pakistan and hotel accommodation”. It also said that the passengers should be accommodated as and when required by them.

“Moreover, airlines have been directed to accommodate passengers who choose to get ticket refunds which shall be the 100% of the amount paid to airline in addition to the payment of compensation for the damage suffered by them,” said the CAA.

The authority also raised “serious concern” over the airlines for their “irresponsible statements” blaming the CAA for flight cancellation.

“It is highlighted that airlines took reservations without the confirmation of lifting of the inbound international flight operation restriction,” said the CAA. It also asked airlines to submit a compliance report of the cancellations.

The authority said that failure to do so may force the CAA to “initiate regulatory action in the form of financial penalty, cancellation of one or more flights and revocation of scheduled authorization against the airlines”.

Earlier, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had shared that the CAA took “strong notice” of the flight cancellation by some international airlines.

“Cancellation of flights despite issuance of clear instructions has caused problems for passengers travelling to Pakistan,” said the NCOC. It added that the CAA has issued a warning to airlines for cancelling the flights.

The country’s nerve centre against the coronavirus said that the body has gradually increased the number of flights from abroad after the coronavirus situation improved internationally as well as in Pakistan.

“From June 15 till now, the number of passengers has been increased from 4,000 to 8,000,” said the NCOC. It added that CAA has also increased the capacity of flights from the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, China, and Malaysia from 20% to 40%

The NCOC said that Pakistan has developed a “strong system to prevent the spread of coronavirus”, adding that passengers taking inbound flights are subjected to routine testing and quarantine.

“So far, 280,000 people from foreign countries have been tested, of which 600 positive cases have been reported and quarantined,” said the NCOC.

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