Islamabad: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has resumed direct flights between Karachi and Iraq’s Najaf, officials said. There will be two flights a week between the two cities.
Pakistan’s national carrier was welcomed with a water gun salute at the Najaf airport.
“PIA resumed direct flights from Karachi to Najaf. Inaugural flight landed at Najaf Airport on 30th October 2021,” the Pakistan embassy in Baghdad said in a tweet on Sunday. “Ambassador of Pakistan and other Iraqi Government officials received the flight.” The Pakistani delegation returned home on the same flight.
PIA CEO Arshad Malik and Iraqi Ambassador Hamid Abbas Lufta were among 91 passengers aboard the 4-hour and 15-minute flight PK-219. Najaf Governor Luay Yasry, Pakistan’s Ambassador Ahmed Amjad Ali, the head of Iraqi civil aviation and other officials welcomed the passengers at the airport.
Highlighting Najaf’s importance, Arshad Malik said that the city was among the top destinations for Pakistani pilgrims, adding that the city was holy for all Muslims. The flight carries with it a message of love and peace from Pakistani people, he said. He appreciated the efforts of Pakistan’s ambassador and the country’s defence attache for the resumption of flight operations to Najaf.
Ambassador Ahmed Amjad Ali said the new flight operations would further strengthen ties between the two countries.
The governor of Najaf has extended support to simplify the visa system so that the maximum number of people travelling to Iraq could benefit from the resumption of PIA flights.