26 flights cancelled as PIA operations affected due to unavailability of fuel

Flight operations have been "partially restored", says PIA spokesperson

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane prepares to take off at Alama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on February 1, 2012. — Reuters
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane prepares to take off at Alama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on February 1, 2012. — Reuters

  • Issue to be resolved once credit lines are restored today: PIA.
  • Flight operations affected after PSO slashed fuel supply.
  • Only 3 flights to take off from Karachi under "fuel adjustment plan".

KARACHI: The flight operations of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have been severely affected with multiple flights cancelled due to the unavailability of fuel amid the prevailing financial crunch faced by the national carrier.

As many as 26 flights have been cancelled from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, Bahawalpur, Multan, Gwadar and other cities after the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) slashed its fuel supply to the PIA, sources said.

The national carrier's administration is looking into the matter and expects the fuel supply to be restored today once credit lines are available, a PIA spokesperson said while adding that the affected passengers are being provided with alternate flights.

As many as 18 flights were cancelled from Karachi, of which three were Islamabad-bound, whereas two Karachi-bound flights were also cancelled from Lahore and the federal capital, respectively.

Meanwhile, only three flights will take off from Karachi today as per the fuel adjustment plan of the PIA.

Flight operations "partially" restored

The national carrier's flight operations have been partially restored following the administration's efforts, confirmed a PIA spokesperson later in the evening.

Jeddah-bound PIA flights took off from Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Multan airports, whereas another Riyadh-bound flight took off from the federal capital.

PIA's financial woes

The national carrier has been facing dire financial circumstances as the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) froze all of its bank accounts for non-payment of taxes back in July earlier this year following which the airline was unable to cater to clear its dues owed to the PSO.

In September, the PIA had asked for an emergency bailout of Rs22.9 billion which was rejected by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

The ECC also rejected the request for deferment of the payments of Rs1.3 billion per month, which PIA pays to FBR against Federal excise duty (FED), and Rs0.7 billion per month which PIA pays to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) against embarking charges.

Earlier this month, PIA flight PK 790 was stopped in Canada on ground handling and fuel company complaints.

 The plane however was released after dues worth $200,000 were cleared by the airline.