KARACHI     -         Pakistan has sought permission from the United States to operate special flights of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to bring back Pakistanis stranded in the US in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

As per details, the Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of the PIA Air Mar­shal Arshad Malik wrote a letter to the US ambassador and the State Department seeking permission to operate PIA special flights to repatriate Pakistanis stranded in the US.

He said the PIA was actively pursuing approval for resumption of flight ope­ra­tions to the US, the covid-19 crisis had created a situation which necessitated conduct of urgent air service to repatriate stranded citizens from both the countries.

He said the PIA held a valid Foreign Air Carrier Permit and had submitted its application to US Department of Transportation for fresh security authority through its legal representatives on Feb 7. Furthermore, security assessment of Islamabad International Airport has been carried out in March. After the approval, the PIA will operate direct flights to the US for the first time and Boeing 777 aircraft will be used to bring back Pakistanis in large numbers.