Pilots' association raises issue of safety of airline staff with govt officials

Web Desk
April 07, 2020

The association had earlier asked pilots to refuse duties on flights to repatriate Pakistanis stranded worldwide

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The Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) on Tuesday approached government officials, including the Prime Minister House, in order to resolve its dispute with Pakistan International Airlines regarding the alleged non provision of safety equipment to airline staff members, sources revealed.

The association had earlier asked pilots to refuse duties on flights to repatriate Pakistanis stranded worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. The directive came after PIA crew was held up for testing at the Karachi airport after a recent flight.

According to sources, the organization has demanded that pilots be given Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as per international standards.

After the contact was made, PM House reportedly asked the pilots' association to resolve issues in consultation with the PIA chief operating officer.

PALPA also approached federal minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who advised the association to talk to the civil aviation secretary.

Following the recommendation, PALPA and PIA officials held talks with Secretary Civil Aviation Nasir Hassan, the sources said.

Meanwhile, PIA officials in a statement said that six workers of the airline have contracted the virus.

The airline said a pilot, two cabin crew members and an aircraft technician had contracted the virus, but did not say how and when this had happened.

The airline's spokesperson insisted that all pilots and crew members were performing duties in PPE, adding that special arrangements were made for flights from Islamabad to Gilgit and Skardu.

The PIA spokesperson said airline crew were using safety equipment recently received from China.

The protective kits and PPE had arrived in Islamabad today via a C-130, said the airline.

According to a recent report in The News, the dispute between the two entities arose after the detention of PIA flight crew in Karachi.

After the incident, PALPA had said that safety was compromised and COVID-19 related SOPs ignored on recently operated "humanitarian flights".

PALPA President Captain Chaudhry Salman claimed that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had failed to ensure set rules and regulations and that the negligence of the said rules was a disaster for the airline.

He further alleged that the PIA was also violating its own rules by compelling pilots to perform duties for over 24 hours.

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