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Agencies
April 6, 2020

Palpa stops members from unsafe flying

Top Story

A
Agencies
April 6, 2020

KARACHI: After the detention of flight crew in Karachi, the Pakistan Air Line Pilots' Association (Palpa) has said that on recently operated "humanitarian flights," safety was compromised and COVID-19 related SOPs ignored.

President Palpa Capt Chaudry Salman expressed strong concerns about the health of the pilots operating the flights, specially after 4 of them were taken to quarantine when they arrived in Karachi, the cockpit crew operated a special flight from Islamabad to the UK.

Earlier, Palpa had warned the management over the lack of measures to ensure the safety and security of crew during the ongoing worldwide challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The safety and health of our crewmembers has always been and remains our utmost priority. Palpa will in no circumstances compromise on the safety of its members. All Palpa members are urgently advised not to operate any flights until further notice,” he said. Palpa President further said that flight duty time limit is also being violated in the current operation due to 30 hrs of flight delay in the country and 6 hrs for the screening of virus at Karachi airport.

“The proper SOP is not being implemented, so Palpa has decided that we are suspending our operation. We have flight safety hazard. We will never compromise on flight safety. Due to the health concerns of our members, we have suspended this operation,” he added.

He said Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) failed to ensure set rules and regulations while such negligence of rules is a disaster for the airline. Moreover, PIA is also violating its own rules by compelling pilots to perform duties over 24 hours.

He emphasised taking measures before the crew is called to perform the duty and said the protective measures SOP for crew, aircraft, and passengers to be shared with Palpa for review. He urged management on flight patterns to be shared with Palpa to assure no FDTL violations are made. Similarly, a written surety provided for immediate medicalcare and attention in case of any unfortunate incident of crew contracting the coronavirus.

He highlighted the need for safety precautions to Chief of Flight Operations/DFO, Flight Operations Department, PIACL and expressed Palpa commitment for ensuring safer skies in the country, while keeping the health and safety of members paramount.

It is worth mentioning that Palpa is a member of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (“ITF”). IFALPA and ITF are international organisations that represent pilots and their concerns globally, including before the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Palpa is responsible for conveying Pakistan’s compliance with the said regulations promulgated under the Chicago Convention to IFALPA, ITF, and ICAO. In particular, PALPA closely liaisons with IFALPA regarding affairs of aviation in Pakistan.

“We not only act as watchdogs but also advise PIACL management on safety critical issues related to passengers, aircraft and crew. Our advice is always based on professionally collected data from across the world.”

“In light of the foregoing, we have already communicated PIACL on ongoing pandemic with spotlight on crew safety. It is very unfortunate that no heed has been paid to our multiple communiques to PIACL management. It is once again reiterated that our crew has always been ready to go a step further to help stranded Pakistanis. Recent flights to corona epicenters with minimal protective measures, exemplifies our resolve and dedication towards the national cause.”

“Despite our extended cooperation and multiple requests to PIACL management, crew is being exposed to a very dangerous situation, with far reaching effects on crew and their families’ health. Our crew has continuously been informing the management of their failure to implement the SOPs of PCAA and PIACL.