Out of 561 in total, the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai and Northern Emirates has managed the entry of 23 passengers into the UAE. The remaining passengers who were unable to produce the documents on the new travel advisory have been sent back. However, 152 are still at the airport whose repatriation is being arranged in various flights by tonight
The US Department of Transportation had in April granted PIA permission to operate 12 direct flights to the US to repatriate people stranded by the coronavirus pandemic.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said the management has now written to the Civil Aviation Authority to urgently provide the list of other licences found to be dubious and all of them will be indefinitely grounded pending inquiries against them.
The 262 pilots grounded on Friday included 141 from PIA, nine from Air Blue, 10 from Serene Airline, 17 from Shaheen Airlines, which has closed down, Sarwar said.
"The discussion throughout was about corona," Sarwar said, referring to exchanges between the pilot and co-pilot he said he had listened to on the cockpit voice recorder. "Corona was dominant over their mind. Their family was affected (by the virus)."
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf told a news conference that the Sialkot and Quetta airports were being operationalised to manage the increasing number of returning passengers.
Airlines in 10 countries had demanded proof of valid flying licences for their Pakistani pilots after it emerged about a third of Pakistan International Airlines aviators were holding "bogus or suspicious" licences. In all, the foreign airlines asked for proof of 176 Pakistani pilot licences.
"The hull insurance of (the aircraft) AP-BLD 2274 is $19.7 million and the amount will go to the owner (of the plane) from whom the PIA acquired it on lease,” spokesperson for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Abdullah H. Khan said.
Investigators found the plane's black box flight recorder two days after the crash. Pakistan's Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said a French-led investigation team would analyse the Airbus A320's recorders.