Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said on Thursday that it has suspended flights to Kabul over the “unprofessional attitude” of Taliban officials.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said, “Our flights often face unreasonable delays due to the unprofessional attitude of the Kabul aviation authorities.” AFP.
He said the route would remain suspended till the situation becomes favourable.
In a separate statement, the spokesperson stressed the fact that the PIA had flown in and out of Kabul under “difficult conditions”, while others had called off their operations.
He was referring to the role played by the PIA in the mass evacuations after the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Kabul in August, which caused crowds among people stranded in the Afghan capital amid a lack of flights.
“Following the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan, the PIA has evacuated around 3,000 people,” a PIA spokesperson said. Those brought out of Kabul included officials from the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF, other global organizations as well as international. Journalist.
The spokesperson said that the captains and staff of the PIA put their lives at risk but still continued the evacuation process.
But the airline said flight operations “were not very lucrative financially” and that it was operating flights only on a “humanitarian basis”.
“We will pay more than $400,000 in insurance premiums which can only be possible if 300 passengers are available,” Khan said.
Taliban asks airlines to cut prices
The development comes as Afghanistan’s Taliban government on Thursday asked the PIA and Afghan Kam Air to reduce fares on the Kabul-Islamabad route to previous levels or halt their flight operations.
Both the airlines are yet to start commercial flights and operate chartered flights with higher fares.
A letter from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation called on PIA and Kama Air to bring down airfares for Kabul-Islamabad flights to a level that existed before the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15.
The letter, in Pashto and Dari languages, was released by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid and was also posted on the official Facebook page of the Afghan aviation ministry.
“Information has been given to PIA and Kam Air private company to reduce the fare on Kabul-Islamabad route before the victory of Islamic Emirate. If the airlines do not agree to this proposal then their operations on the route will be stopped,” the letter said.
It asked passengers to contact the ministry in case there is no change in ticket prices.
A journalist from Islamabad, who returned from Kabul on Wednesday, told don.com that he paid $2,700 for the PIA’s Islamabad-Kabul-Islamabad ticket ($1,200 for the flight to Kabul and $1,600 for the return flight).
According to the airline’s office in Islamabad, Kama Air charges over Rs 200,000 for a return ticket. PIA argues that it charges more due to higher insurance rates.
Kama Air, which had announced the cancellation of its flights to Pakistan on October 9, resumed operations on Wednesday, but the airline was unable to inform passengers in time and several people missed the flight, one passenger. According to who had reserved a seat, but could not proceed further. to Kabul.
Kam Air had claimed that it had announced the cancellation of flights after Pakistan refused to give it permission.
Pakistan has now made it mandatory for airlines to give details of all passengers before departing from Kabul.