ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will resume flights from Islamabad to Kabul next week, a spokesman for the airline told AFP Saturday, becoming the first foreign commercial service since the Taliban seized power last month.
“We have got all technical clearances for flight operations. Our first commercial plane, (an) Airbus A320, is scheduled to fly from Islamabad to Kabul on September 13,” said PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan.
According to 24NewsHD TV channel, the PIA flight will take off from Islamabad Airport at 7:30am on Monday morning, the spokesman said and added Afghanistan’s civil aviation authority has issued the necessary permission to the PIA.
The PIA spokesman said everything is ready to restart the Kabul operation and Airbus 320 aircraft will be used for the purpose.
Kabul airport was severely damaged during a chaotic evacuation of over 120,000 people that ended with the withdrawal of US forces on August 30. The Taliban have been scrambling to get it operating again with Qatari technical assistance.
Khan said the service would depend on demand. “We have received 73 requests which is very encouraging… from humanitarian relief agencies and journalists,” he said.
In the last two days Qatar Airways has operated two charter flights out of Kabul, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who missed being taken out during the evacuation.
An Afghan airline resumed domestic flights last week.