Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has suffered a loss of Rs. 2 billion following suspension of flights to Saudi Arabia after a temporary ban on Umrah was put in place due to coronavirus, according to PIA officials.
The PIA officials told media that the schedule of the airlines has been badly disturbed and tickets of 50,000 passengers have been canceled so far.
The authorities said that 34 flights to Medina and 13 to Mecca are still scheduled every week for business visa and iqama holders despite fewer passengers.
The financial loss is expected to surge due to the suspension of flight operations to Qatar and Iran as well.
PIA also announced cancellation of direct flight operations to Italy till March 31. Italy has barred foreign visitors from entering the country over fears of Coronavirus.
A PIA spokesperson said that flights to Milan from Islamabad and Lahore have been cancelled but flights to Paris, France will continue. However, those flying to Paris will do so with the written assurance that any further travel will be arranged by the passengers themselves.
The spokesperson also said that tickets of all canceled flights will be fully refunded and PIA regrets any inconvenience caused by the cancellations.
Earlier, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had banned direct flights between Pakistan and Iran after the first two confirmed cases of coronavirus surfaced in the country.