Pakistan International Airlines will run a one-off flight from Melbourne to Lahore this week to help hundreds of Pakistanis return home from Australia.
With the country having blocked all international commercial flights since mid-March – a ban that’s now set to continue until at least April 30 – many of the country’s residents have struggled to find a path back to their homeland, making government repatriation flights a necessity.
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777-200LR will first fly from Lahore to Melbourne on Friday April 24. PK8962 departs Pakistan at 5pm local time, reaching Melbourne the next day at 10:30am after a journey of 12 hours 30 minutes.
Allowing time for the crew to rest before the return leg, the Melbourne-Lahore flight, PK8972, is scheduled to depart at 1pm on April 26, reaching Pakistan’s second-largest city at 9pm the same day, 13 hours after wheels-up.
PIA’s Boeing 777-200LR jets can normally accommodate up to 310 passengers, but this repatriation service from Melbourne is capped at 250 passengers, according to the Government of Pakistan.
This flight is not currently listed for public sale on the PIA website, however, Pakistani nationals currently in Australia on visit or temporary visas who wish to travel home should contact the High Commission for Pakistan in Canberra by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register their interest.
Emails sent to the High Commission should include the name, passport number, mobile phone number and current address of all passengers seeking repatriation.
Travellers who are offered a seat on the repatriation flight will be required to complete a passenger health declaration form prior to travel.
Pakistan will continue to ban regularly-scheduled international flights until at least April 30 2020. Domestic flights within Pakistan also remain suspended until the same date.