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Direct PIA flight to New York likely by end of 2009

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newyorkflightLAHORE: The Pakistan International Airline (PIA) plans to operate a direct flight from Lahore to New York by the end of this year and the flight may operate twice a week, Daily Times learnt on Saturday.

A four-member team of Traffic Safety Authority (TSA) from USA arrived in Lahore on August 24 to check the security arrangements made for this non-stop flight from the provincial capital to New York. The team after completing its reports and checking the earlier proposed security systems returned to the US on Saturday. An official of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on condition of anonymity that the team was satisfied with security arrangements at the Allama Iqbal Airport as well as with the proposed security arrangements for the flight. The official said although starting the operation of the flight was a lengthy process it would hopefully be completed by the next two or three months. The official said the direct flight was started at the suggestion of the government because it was economical for PIA as it helped in saving lining take-up charges and taking a fresh crew from stopovers.

PIA decided to start the operation of the flight almost three years ago, but it could not be done unless the TSA gave a security clearance. Earlier, the (US) Homeland Security had not permitted PIA to start the flight over security concerns. A delegation of officials from the US main security agencies including Homeland Security and TSA visited Pakistan and expressed their concerns over the security measures at various international airports, but on the other hand security arrangements at Allama Iqbal International Airport were found relatively satisfactory. The visiting teams in their earlier visits proposed some security arrangements that the authorities at the airport had ensured.

Daily Times report

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