ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) claimed on Saturday that only four out of its 110 scheduled flights were canceled due to the strike called by Pakistan Air Lines Pilots Association (Palpa).
Director General Public Affairs PIA Danial Gillani while talking to media claimed that only two pilots refused to do their duty due to the pressure exerted from Palpa, and he hoped that they too will reconsider their behaviour soon.
“95 per cent of our flight operation went unhindered despite immense pressure on pilots from Palpa. We are also trying our best to maintain smooth flight operations for Hajj flights so that the pilgrims, especially those injured in Mina’s stampede can return in time”, said Gillani.
The four flights canceled included two on Multan-Karachi sector, PK-330 and PK-331 while the other two were running on Lahore-Quetta sector, PK- 322 and PK-323.
He added further that PIA’s staff is apprising its customers in a timely manner regarding delays and scheduling of their flights through the airline’s SMS service.
Gilani maintained that Prime Minister’s Adviser on Aviation Shujaat Azeem is holding a meeting with the Palpa office bearers.
He added that Palpa officials were invited yesterday, but they did not respond to the invitation.
The director general of public affairs added that a written invitation has been sent today to Palpa officials.
At least 51 flights were canceled during the past three days and several others were delayed or re-routed.
PIA’s management has laid the blame on its pilots for creating the crisis, while Palpa on the other hand has accused the airline’s management of inefficiency and mismanagement.
Palpa had stated that it has only asked its members to “go by the book” while the management claimed the pilots called in sick at the last moment which resulted in the cancellation of flights.
Speaking at a press conference, PIA Chairman Nasser Jaffer said he was not aware why the pilots had resorted to such behaviour.
He urged them to discuss their grievances with the management during the ongoing negotiations about their working conditions and salary. He also said that as head of the organisation, he was responsible for any inconvenience faced by the passengers. According to a PIA official carrying out negotiations with Palpa, the airline was currently paying about Rs3.2 billion to the pilots as salary and perks annually.
Flight Operations Director Salman Azhar said Palpa’s “go by the book” step could be managed but the pilots’ calling in sick at the last moment could not be.
He added that on Thursday, 14 pilots reported in sick and this was unusual and difficult to manage.
CAA spokesman Pervez George said: “Palpa has become a source of threat to the national carrier and is responsible for financial losses to the nation by dictating their personal agenda to the national airline and the State of Pakistan (CAA) by deliberately disregarding the flight safety rules and regulations which are made for the safety of passengers travelling by air, people on the ground and valuable national assets (aircraft).”
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The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily