The four Pakistani airlines, including the national carrier Pakistan International Airlines have been issued warning notices by the Director Air Transport of the CAA. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Karachi: The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has withheld, with immediate effect, permission to four airlines to operate international chartered flights after they cancelled 383 scheduled domestic flights in 18 days.

The move was to allow smooth operation of domestic flight, the CAA said.

The CAA took cognisance of complaints and feedback that the four airlines have been cancelling confirmed scheduled domestic flights on the pretext of operational reasons. Thereafter, these airlines had been using the same aircraft for international chartered operations in lieu of the scheduled domestic flights, the CAA said.

The four Pakistani airlines -- national carrier Pakistan International Airlines, SereneAir, Airblue, and AirSial --  in this regard have been issued warning notices by the Director Air Transport of the CAA. The notices have been issued to safeguard the rights of the Pakistani air passengers.

From October 1 to October 18, 2021 these four airlines were supposed to operate total 1,145 domestic flights in Pakistan as 383 of them had been cancelled.

The CAA said in its latest notices: “Prior to requesting any permission for international chartered flights, airline operators will submit an undertaking to the CAA that domestic flight schedule approved for any ongoing scheduling session will be operated with a minimum flight regularity and punctuality of 90 per cent and 80 per cent respectively.”

The cancellation of domestic flights, if any, will only be made consequent upon technical reasons or force majeure circumstances. “It may also be noted that the flight cancellation on the pretext of technical reasons will only be allowed subject to its conformation from our airworthiness directorate,” said the CAA.

An adequate balance between domestic flight operations and international flight operations is mandatory, which does not only follow along the vision contained in the National Aviation Policy-2019 but also allows airline operators to fulfill the obligations towards the travelling public in Pakistan, the CAA added.