Pakistan allows special flight for passengers stranded at Bangkok airport

In this file photo, a Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER plane takes off from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Feb. 23, 2015. (REUTERS)
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Updated 28 March 2020

Pakistan allows special flight for passengers stranded at Bangkok airport

  • All passengers will be subject to strict health screening and tested for COVID-19, says aviation division
  • 175 Pakistanis were left stranded at Bangkok airport after the March 22 flight suspension

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government will allow the operation of a special flight by Thai Airways to bring 175 stranded passengers from Bangkok to Islamabad, the aviation division said on Saturday.
Hundreds of Pakistanis in transit were left stranded at airports across the world after the federal government suspended all incoming international flights on March 22 as part of sweeping measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“In order to facilitate the stranded passengers at Bangkok, government of Pakistan has decided to allow operation of one flight by Thai Airways to Islamabad. It will be a special flight to Islamabad with about 175 passengers on board. These passengers were in transit in Bangkok, Thailand,” a spokesperson for the aviation division, Abdul Sattar Khokhar told Arab News in Islamabad.
Khokhar said the passengers would be subject to strict health screening as advised by the ministry of health.
“All passengers will go through thermal scanning and RT-PCR swab testing. After the test, all passengers will be kept in strict isolation till the final result of the tests,” he said.
Those testing negative for the coronavirus will be allowed to return to their homes with instructions to keep themselves self-isolated for 14 days, he added.
“Those passengers whose test will be COVID-19 positive will be taken to quarantine from the airport for further treatment,” he said.
After the global spread of the virus and the suspension of flights by various governments around the world, it is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to conduct swab tests of every passenger, Khokhar explained.
“Thermal scanner just checks body temperature and sometimes passenger carries virus without temperature. We have tested all passengers of two special flights during the last week and will do the same for the passengers of this Thai airline flight as well,” he said.


Pakistani aviation authority says PIA pilot ignored air traffic control

Updated 17 sec ago

Pakistani aviation authority says PIA pilot ignored air traffic control

  • PK 8303 crashed on May 22 while trying to land after the pilots reported the loss of both engines
  • The plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data box are being decoded in France

KARACHI: Pakistani aviation authorities have told Pakistan International Airlines that the pilot of a passenger plane that crashed into a residential district of Karachi last month had ignored air traffic control’s instructions for landing, a PIA spokesman said on Wednesday.
The PIA Airbus A320 crashed on May 22 while trying to land after the pilots reported the loss of both engines. Ninety seven people on board were killed and two survived. At least one person was reported to have died on the ground.
Initial reports suggested the plane scraped its engines along the runway on a first attempt to land following what appeared to be an unstable approach, arriving steep and fast.
In a letter sent to PIA, the Civil Aviation Authority said an approach controller twice told the pilot to discontinue its approach as he came into land but he did not comply.
As it neared landing, the plane’s ground speed was above the runway threshold, the letter quoted the controller as saying.
It lifted up from the runway surface and crashed over Model Colony while attempting a second approach, the letter said.
“Yes, we have received the letter, they are documenting it,” Abdullah Hafeez Khan, PIA’s general manager for corporate communications told Reuters.
He declined to comment on the assertions made in the letter.
The flight had been observed as being high for approach at as it passed Makli, about 100 km east of Karachi, but the pilot said he was comfortable for the descent, the letter said. He was also cautioned a second time.
The plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data box are being decoded in France by French air accident agency BEA.
Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that an initial report on the crash will be presented to parliament on June 22.
Aviation safety experts say air crashes typically have multiple causes and it is too early to determine the reasons behind the air disaster, which is Pakistan’s worst since 2012.