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Special flight to repatriate stranded Pakistanis is now confirmed

Passengers at Melbourne airport ready to board Pakistan International Airlines flight 8692 to Lahore Source: Pakistan High Commission Canberra

The special repatriation flight to take home stranded Pakistanis in Australia has finally received a green signal, after an initial scare that it would not run.

An earlier Pakistan International Airlines flight had already been cancelled soon after selling its tickets, just days before its scheduled departure.
 
To avoid the current flight being cancelled, operated by Sri Lankan Airlines enough tickets needed to be sold to meet the minimum requirement.
 

Highlights:

  • SriLankan Airlines flight confirmed to leave this Sunday
  • The departure time of the special flight changes to 10 am instead of 2 pm.  
  • More than 400 Pakistanis still stranded in Australia due to COVID-19

Initially, the flight was bound for Karachi but later changed to Lahore which made a lot of people change their decision to not travel. 
 
People have complained that the reason for not booking the ticket was the mixed messages that they received from the Pakistan High Commission.

Pakistan High Commission told SBS Urdu that “due to technical reasons the authorities in Pakistan approved Lahore as the airport for dis-embarkment.”

The flight has now sold enough tickets to depart on Sunday, but the departure time has been changed from 2pm to 10am.

Remaining stranded Pakistanis in Australia

Business development manager for SriLankan Airlines Dilshan Pitawalage told SBS Urdu that "approximately 100 people will be repatriated on this flight."

According to registration figures provided by the Pakistan High Commission, this leaves more than 400 Pakistanis still stranded in Australia who will have to wait for another opportunity to get back home.

A spokesperson from Pakistan High Commission said that they are making constant efforts for the safe return of stranded citizens.

“One PIA flight has already repatriated of Pakistanis from Australia.  The second flight, unfortunately, had to be cancelled at the last moment due to low ticket purchase on Karachi to Sydney sector. The current flight on 14 June has also been scheduled to facilitate the repatriation of Pakistanis.” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson further suggested that people can avail commercial flight opportunities to get back home.

“Some commercial Airlines such as the Qatar airlines and now Emirates have started flights to different Pakistani cities.”

Business development manager Dilshan Pitawalage has said that SriLankan airlines plan to work with Pakistan High Commission in the future if the opportunity arises.

“We are open to this sort of thing. We did a repatriation flight for Bangladesh as well and on this second occasion we are working with Pakistan High Commission.” said Mr Pitawalage

“If there are any opportunities or they need any assistance in the future we will be more than happy to help.” 


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