Pakistan International Airlines on Thursday halted flights to Kabul in what was called a “heavy hand” by Taliban officials, Reuters said. reports.
running news: After the suspension, the Taliban ordered the PIA to slash ticket prices, warning that the company’s Afghan operations could be blocked if it refused to do so, according to Reuters.
- A PIA spokesperson said, “We are suspending our flight operations to Kabul from today onwards due to the extreme strictness of the authorities.”
big picture: Flight tickets to Pakistan’s capital Islamabad are selling for $2,500, compared to $120-$150 before the Taliban takeover, as the number of flights to Afghanistan is limited, Reuters reports.
- The Afghan transport ministry had previously said that prices from Kabul to Islamabad “must be adjusted according to ticket conditions before the Islamic emirate’s victory” or flights would be halted, Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, PIA said it continued to operate chartered flights to Kabul on “humanitarian grounds” and faced an insurance premium of $400,000 per flight, per Reuters.
- “The insurance premiums on these flights are so high that it is impossible to operate scheduled flights to Kabul, as it is still considered a war zone by aircraft insurance companies and lessors,” the company said in a statement.
- The PIA also said that its employees in Kabul faced last-minute changes to the rules of Taliban officials and “extremely intimidating behaviour”.
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