Pakistan's national carrier to suspend Mumbai-Karachi flight

PIA used to operate two flights a week, Monday and Thursday, between the commercial cities of Karachi and Mumbai.

However, the reason for the suspension of its flight service, was not specified by the PIA communication. However, the Pakistan airline had informed the relevant authorities about the non-operation of service on 4 May in a communication last month, the official said. Officials said Hashmi's adherence to flight rules have been questioned in the past, when he had flown acros the Atlantic without resting as much as is prescribed.

PIA Spokesperson Daniyal Gillani told Dawn that it was "likely", on "purely economical" grounds, to suspend its Karachi-Mumbai operations, while flights to New Delhi will continue. The suspension of Karachi-Mumbai route may add traffic to Lahore-Delhi route, he further added. "The PIA has stopped booking for flights on this route", PTI quoted the official as saying.

Sources in the PIA said that the airlines was not getting enough traffic for the flights to Mumbai due to the toughening of the visa rules by the Indian High Commission.

A senior pilot was allegedly sleeping on a London-bound flight, risking the lives of over 300 passengers on board as he handed over the aircraft to a trainee.

Relations between India and Pakistan have taken another sharp plunge after two soldiers were killed and mutilated in Kashmir earlier this week by Pakistanis at the Line of Control.

PIA was a profit making entity and earned more than two billion Pakistani rupees in 2004.

Vanessa Coleman