'Bomb threat on Pakistan flight to Dubai'

A bomb threat forced Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to evacuate 157 passengers and 10 crew from an Airbus preparing to take off for Dubai, officials said.

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ISLAMABAD // A bomb threat delayed a Pakistani passenger flight bound for Dubai by four hours, with officials clearing it to take off after searches found no explosive device on board.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight was preparing for a scheduled 11 am (0600 GMT) departure from Lahore when an anonymous caller rang the airport claiming there was a bomb on board.

"The plane has been thoroughly searched and no bomb was found, it has taken off at 3 pm," Hasan said.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George said all threats had to be taken seriously although most turned out to be hoaxes.

Pakistan's aviation industry has been in the spotlight after a Boeing 737 from the private airline Bhoja Air crashed near Islamabad on April 20, killing all 127 people on board.

Last month, a PIA jet was forced to land shortly after takeoff from Karachi after a passenger made a hijack threat.

The state carrier is on the verge of going bust, but provides the only direct services from Pakistan to Britain, Europe and North America.