The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has dispatched warning letters to PIA - Pakistan International Airlines, AirBlue, Syrianair, AirSial, Vision Air International (Pakistan), and Air Falcon for not adhering to COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for inbound flights to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), cautioning it could withdraw the carriers' permission to operate the route.

Pakistan’s The Nation and Dawn newspapers reported the October 22 warning letters stated the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) had shared two safety assessments of foreign aircraft (SAFA) reports that contained violations of its Safety Decision 2020-20. Concerns pertained to non-compliance regarding the isolation of infected passengers onboard and crew not using full PPE (personal protective equipment).

"Such violations are ignominious not only for the operator but also for the state and the regulator," the PCAA stated, warning that airlines failing to comply would face "sterner action which could include the withdrawal of permission to operate flights to and from UAE airports".

According to the GCAA's Safety Decision, an isolation area comprising of three rows should be assigned at the back of an aircraft for suspected COVID-19 cases. Cabin crews are mandated to wear face shields or goggles, masks, and gloves during service and disposable gowns as "minimum requirements", the guidelines state.

The UAE lifted a travel ban on vaccinated residents from several countries, including Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh on September 12.

The PCAA established testing facilities at eight major airports in different cities including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Quetta, and Sialkot for passengers travelling to the UAE.

Meanwhile, PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l) has posted a loss of USD258.5 million for the nine months ending September 30, 2021, representing a USD9.2 million deterioration in income from the USD249.3 million posted in the same period in 2020. This is according to a market filing of the unaudited interim statement for the third quarter disclosed at a Board meeting in Karachi on October 27, 2021. The airline reported net revenues of USD298.7 million for the period compared to USD463.5 million in 2020.

According to local news reports, the meeting was also to have discussed the purchase of new aircraft. This followed after the airline received another A320-200 on dry-lease at Islamabad Benazir Bhutto Int'l on October 23, 2021. The national flag carrier has acquired two more A320 aircraft on a six-year dry lease raising the total number of the type in its fleet to 11. Most of its A320-200s are leased from Aergo Capital, with two from GECAS, and one each from ALAFCO and Seraph Aviation Group, ch-aviation fleets advanced data reveals.

PIA is to acquire more narrow-body fuel-efficient aircraft under its state-backed business revival plan, although the plan also foresees a reduction of the current fleet size of 31units to less than 30.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the fleet currently includes eleven A320-200s, six B777-200(ER)s, two B777-200(LR)s, four B777-300(ER)s, four ATR42-500s, and four ATR72-500s. It has a further five B777-300(ER)s on order.