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US team visits Islamabad International Airport to give clearance to PIA direct flights

US team visits Islamabad International Airport to give clearance to PIA direct flights

RAWALPINDI: A United States (US) Transport Security Administration (TSA) team on Monday visited Islamabad International Airport (IIA) to conduct final inspection and give clearance to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to start direct flights to the US.

According to sources, the team will also visit Jinnah International Airport Karachi and Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore.

The US team is expected to hold a meeting with Aviation Secretary Nasir Hussain Jamy on Tuesday to discuss issues related to aviation and security.

For the first time, PIA is likely to start direct flights to the United States from May this year, subject to final clearance by the TSA.

The US team will submit its final report after the security audit of the three airports.

Negotiations between the US administration and PIA continued for the last two years. PIA has taken all measures asked for by the US authorities, including using screening machines at the three major airports.

A delegation from the US transport authority earlier visited Pakistan before the arrival of the final security audit team.

The PIA has prepared a flight plan according to which initially three flights a week will be operated to New York but the number will be increased later.

Owing to security concerns, the US had not allowed any direct flight that originated from a Pakistani airport into its airspace. It will be for the first time that PIA will start its direct flights to the US from Pakistan.

In October 2017, the PIA discontinued its flights to the US because of rising operational cost and in a bid to cut losses it had been facing.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2020

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