General

Shaheen Air to send its own aircraft to rescue stranded passengers

The Pakistanis stranded in China’s Guangzhou airport continue to suffer, as a rescue flight to bring them back has yet to take off.
In another twist in the events, the Shaheen Air International has now decided to send its own aircraft for the rescue mission, the Civil Aviation Authority and private airline authorities confirmed.
Earlier, it was reported that Shaheen Air had sought the help of Pakistan International Airline to bring back the stranded passengers.
According to the CAA spokesperson, the Shaheen Air’s plane will take off tonight, adding that the aircraft’s hosepipe has also arrived from abroad. This part of the flight was stuck in Customs clearance, the CAA added.
“We have decided to use our own plane. The part of the plane that was missing has also arrived. The engineers had to change this part of the plane. We hope to get the permission to fly after getting the part changed,” the Shaheen Air International added.
As many as 300 Pakistanis were left stranded in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou after their Shaheen Air flight was abruptly cancelled on July 29, following a dispute over payment of arrears totalling over Rs1.5 billion between the airline and the CAA.
The airline’s international operations — except Hajj flights — were suspended several days ago by the CAA owing to the mounting debt.
The stranded citizens have continued to face immense difficulties amid blame game between the CAA and Shaheen Air.
A few of them have also reportedly fallen sick as they continue to await their return home for past seven days.
However, the national flag-carrier has now decided to reach out to stranded countrymen.
Sources said that PIA CEO has directed the PIA authorities to make arrangements to bring back stranded Pakistanis from China.
Pakistani consul general meets stranded passengers
A spokesman for the Foreign Office of Pakistan said with the cooperation of Pakistani consul general, 214 passengers reached home through an alternate flight, whereas 46 preferred to return via Shaheen Air’s next flight.
The spokesman further explained that Shaheen Air flights scheduled for August 2 and 5 were also cancelled, and now several other Pakistani passengers have been stranded, in addition to the 46 previously left in Guangzhou.
Shaheen Air provided accommodation to these passengers at a hotel in Guangzhou, he said, where they are also being provided food.
The Pakistani consul general also met with the stranded passengers, the spokesman said, adding that the accommodation provided to them was comfortable and efforts were being made that they face no difficulties.
He said the consul general was constantly in touch with the passengers, Shaheen Air and Chinese officials.
Local officials of the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs have been fully cooperating with regard to expiry of visas of some stranded passengers, the spokesman said.
He also said that Shaheen Air was making efforts for early return of stranded passengers.