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Pakistan hits new low: Toronto-bound flight barred from Russian airspace over unpaid dues

Prime News, International (Islamabad), June 24:- A Toronto-bound Pakistan International Airlines flight from Islamabad had to re-route after the aircraft was refused overflying clearance from Russia due to non-payment of outstanding dues, local media reports said.

The incident happened on June 17 when PIA’s Toronto-bound flight from Islamabad did not get overflying clearance, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The media outlet had said at the time that the Toronto-bound PIA flight from Islamabad would be brought to Karachi first from where it will reach Toronto after flying over the European countries instead of Russia. The PIA flight PK781 which had more than 250 passengers was said to be departed from Karachi the same day at noon.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is facing challenges in transferring money for flight overflying charges to Russia. “Russia is facing difficulties to receive overflying payments due to global sanctions. The PIA is forced to take an alternative route,” a PIA spokesman had said.

“The PIA flight from Islamabad to Toronto will use the air route of Iran, Turkey and Europe,” he had said adding, “The plane will be refuelled in Karachi for a 17-hour non-stop flight.”

Providing details of the incident, Mubasher Lucman, an investigative journalist while taking to Twitter wrote, “PIA flight to Toronto from Islamabad is delayed as the Russian government has demanded from PIA to clear all outstanding dues. An alternate route is Europe and that’s an issue as well. PIA must do something in the next two hours to continue normalcy of flights.” (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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