UAE airlines cancel some Pakistan flights; expats' travel plans affected
Residents receive email notifications from airlines.
Some scheduled flights from the UAE to Pakistan are being cancelled, leaving affected passengers in a state of flux. Many are having to shelve their Eid Al Fitr travel plans after receiving emails from airlines about the cancellations.
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Authorities in Pakistan had earlier announced a reduction in inbound flights to contain the growing number of new coronavirus cases in the country. The UAE's largest carriers Emirates and Etihad have cancelled flights in line with the directives of the Pakistani government.
Pakistani nationals in the UAE, who planned to spend Eid with their loved ones back home, were shocked after receiving the cancellation notifications.
“I got the shock of my life when I got an e-mail from Emirates that my flight had been cancelled. Our holiday shopping was done, bags were almost packed and kids were anxiously waiting. But now, I have to unpack my bags with a heavy heart,” said a resident, Tanvir Ahmed.
The email Tanvir got from Emirates says: “Your flight EK622 from Dubai to Lahore has been cancelled along with onward connections if any… We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused."
An Etihad Airways spokesperson said in a statement to Khaleej Times that following regulations being updated by the Pakistan authorities from May 5, a limit will be placed on the number of international passengers allowed to travel into and from Pakistan.
“As a result, Etihad Airways is temporarily reducing its passenger flights between Abu Dhabi and Pakistan, from May 5 to May 20,” said the statement.
“Etihad is working to increase the aircraft capacity for those flights it is permitted to operate, and also contacting impacted guests to notify them of the changes to their itineraries and rearrange travel plans,” said the Abu Dhabi-based national carrier.
The UAE airlines said passengers can rebook their flights to a later date or claim refunds.
Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) last week announced a reduction in inbound international flights by 80 per cent from May 5 to 20. As a result, the number of inbound international flights to Pakistan will reduce from 590 to 123 per week.
Abul Hassan, a Sharjah resident, said: “My worry started when Pakistan announced this ... I was planning to fly just two days before Eid Al Fitr but the cancellation has ruined my plans."
Ahmed called on Pakistani authorities to let at least vaccinated passengers fly home. “When other countries are allowing the entry of vaccinated travellers, why can’t Pakistan?"
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