May 13, 2020| Muscat Mission Post|
Are inbound passenger flights to Pakistan operational?
Pakistan has suspended international flight operations since 21st March, 2020. Pakistani airlines, along with approved international carries, are being allowed to bring back stranded Pakistani passengers from abroad. Please note that the number and origin of these flights are being reviewed on a regular basis, and approved flight schedules can be found at http://covid.gov.pk/intl_travellers/flight_info
Please note that these flights are subject to change without prior notice due to the evolving situation.
Are outbound passenger flights from Pakistan operational?
Pakistan has suspended international flight operations since 21st March, 2020. However, Pakistani and other airlines are being allowed to take back citizens of different countries from Pakistan through special flights.
Are international private flights operational?
Limited international private flights are currently being allowed by special permission. Upper limit on passengers; and date and time of arrival is being determined by the Civil Aviation Authority and not by the flight operator. Please contact Civil Aviation Authority for further information.
Passengers on inbound international private flights are being subject to the same testing and quarantine procedures as for inbound international passenger flights.
Are domestic passenger flights operational?
Domestic passenger flights have been suspended since 21st March, 2020. Only limited flights between Islamabad- Gilgit-Islamabad and Islamabad-Skardu-Islamabad are operational.
Are domestic private flights operational?
Only limited domestic private flights are currently allowed by special permission. Upper limit on passengers; and date and time of arrival will be determined by the Civil Aviation Authority and not by the flight operator. Please contact Civil Aviation Authority for information.
I wish to return to Pakistan. What procedure should I follow?
If you are stranded outside Pakistan, please reach out to the Pakistani embassy/mission in your host country to register as a stranded passenger. Embassies/missions abroad are responsible for prioritizing stranded passengers according to a transparent criterion for special flights coming to Pakistan.
In addition limited number of commercial flights have also been allowed. Tickets for commercial flights can be booked as routine passenger flights from respective airline.
There is no direct flight to Pakistan from my country of residence. How can I return to Pakistan?
Apart from Pakistani carriers, limited foreign carriers are allowed to bring back stranded Pakistanis. Details of such flights may be found on http://covid.gov.pk/intl_travellers/flight_info. Some flights are labeled as OPEN to indicate that seats can be booked; and passengers can come back via connections through these flights. Qatar Airways flights are currently flying to and from Pakistan.
What is the quarantine process upon return?
Upon arrival in Pakistan, all passengers and crew will be subjected to a state-monitored quarantine. Testing will be conducted as soon as possible after arrival. The testing process generally takes 24 hours, but might be delayed in some cases due to heavy load of inbound passenger traffic.
The quarantine can be extended based on the result of the passenger’s COVID-19 test, or upon the discretion of governmental health authorities considering the overall tests result of the flight. Passengers who are sent home after a negative test will be advised compulsory self-isolation to complete a 14-day period. Low risk and asymptomatic positive test results may also be sent home for self-isolation upon the discretion of provincial health authorities subject to review of isolation capabilities at home.
Where will I be quarantined? Do I have to pay for my quarantine?
Inbound passengers will be allowed a preference between two modes of quarantine, government quarantine centers or government regulated hotel/facility. Government quarantine centers will be free of cost. Passengers will be responsible for all expenses arising from their stay if they choose to stay in a government regulated hotel/facility. Paid quarantine’s availability may be limited, so it may not be guaranteed.
Will I be tested for Covid-19 upon return?
All returning passengers will be tested.
What criteria are stranded passengers being prioritized through?
Our embassies and missions abroad are working to ensure those most in need are able to return to Pakistan on a priority basis. The transparent criteria through which our Missions abroad are instructed to prioritize stranded Pakistanis is as following: Pakistanis stranded at foreign airports; labor laid off/suspended by the host country; prisoners; zaireens; those bereaved due to death of immediate family member; government servants on official visits; those with expired visas; those with time bound visas; and Pakistanis present in locations from where special flights to Pakistan may originate.
Where can flight schedules be found?
Official flight schedules can be found here, and are updated on a regular basis. Please refrain from believing information from other sources. http://covid.gov.pk/intl_travellers/flight_info
Only flights posted on the official schedule on the website have been approved by the government. No flights beyond the posted schedule have been planned.
Why are flights to specific countries being prioritized?
The destinations from which Pakistanis are being brought back are prioritized dependent upon the total number of Pakistanis stranded in each country, and their capability to sustain themselves. The current policy of maximizing the number of flights to the Gulf countries reflects this policy, as a large number of Pakistani labor workers are stranded in the region.
Why is there a delay in bringing back passengers?
The limiting factors of conducting Covid-19 testing and managing passengers in quarantine facilities must be catered for to ensure the safety of our passengers and population, while maintaining sufficient facilities for the local population. The number and origin of flights are being constantly reviewed to ensure the timely return of our nationals as we continue to increase our capacity.
In addition, several important airports and airlines are shut down or restricted, so flights require negotiations with the destination country; and flights are sometimes cancelled or denied.
Are fares for flights being regulated?
National Aviation Policy, 2019 has a deregulated regime for airline fares. Current fares may be higher than usual as airlines are required to ensure social distancing during flights bound for Pakistan and/or are forced to fly without passengers one way. All passengers are to be seated with at least one vacant seat.
Why do some Pakistani planes return to Pakistan without any passengers?
Only a set number of Pakistanis can be brought back from around the globe per week due to a limitation of how many inbound passengers can be tested and quarantined; without diminishing the health capacity necessary to manage the pandemic for the local population.
Due to this capped number of inbound passengers per week, flights to areas such as Europe, UK and Canada often return empty so that stranded passengers with a higher priority according to the listed criterion in regions such as the UAE can be brought back.
Why are only schedules for the next week uploaded?
The flight schedules are being reviewed and finalized on a weekly basis as permissions for each flight has to be sought on an individual basis due to many countries around the world having closed their air spaces. In addition, a continuous analysis of the number of stranded Pakistanis across the world allows the government to prioritize and increase the capacity of inbound passengers after each phase where possible.
Why are schedules subject to change?
Several important airports and airlines are shut down or restricted, so flights require negotiations with the destination country; and flights are sometimes cancelled or denied. This makes it impossible to provide absolute clarity or predict schedules in advance, resulting in frequent changes. To ensure passengers are informed in a timely manner and kept up to date with the evolving situation, flight schedules are regularly updated on http://covid.gov.pk/intl_travellers/flight_info.
Is support being provided to stranded Pakistanis until they are repatriated?
As we continue to bring back stranded Pakistani citizens, our embassies and missions abroad are actively supporting stranded Pakistanis in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis. Please reach out to the respective authorities through the contact information listed here. http://covid.gov.pk/intl_travellers/contact_info_for_queries
Is transport of dead bodies allowed?
Transport of dead bodies to Pakistan is allowed. Please contact local embassy/mission for information.
Are there any guidelines to follow?
The government has circulated SOPs for safe flight operations, quarantine, self-isolation and other travel guidelines. These can be found here. http://covid.gov.pk/intl_travellers/guidelines_for_travellers
I am unable to contact my local embassy/mission or I have further queries. Who do I contact?
If you are unable to contact your local embassy/mission or need further information, please get in touch with Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Covid-19 Cell or Overseas Pakistanis Foundation. Contact details for both can be found here. http://covid.gov.pk/intl_travellers/contact_info_for_queries
Last modified: May 13, 2020
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