ISLAMABAD, APR 07 (DNA) – Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari has welcomed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for operating 13 special flights to the United Kingdom.

Zulfiqar Bukhari said in a Twitter message, ‘Thank you’ PIA for coming up with 13 special flights to UK despite European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) restrictions before the implementation of April 9 ban – with more to come.

The SAPM added, “It’s been a tough time for people specially overseas Pakistanis returning to UK. Happy to see Civil Aviation [CAA] and PIA working together to facilitate people.”

In another tweet, Bukhari also showed gratefulness to the international carriers including British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines and Gulf Air for providing much needed and timely help to UK-based overseas Pakistanis.

He detailed that the remaining flights to be operated to Britain will include five by British Airways including three scheduled and two extra flights, three by Virgin Atlantic, four by PIA/affiliated, two by Turkish Airlines and one by Gulf Air.

On April 3, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had decided to operate additional two-way flights between Pakistan and Britain.

The decision was taken after the United Kingdom (UK) added more countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh to its red list from April 9 – 2021 in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 variants internationally.

The British authorities had added Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Kenya to its red list to be effective from 4:00 am (local time) Friday, April 9 – 2021 for implementing travel bans on visitors from the countries. = DNA