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April 8, 2020

Flights resume after successful PIA-Palpa talks

Top Story

April 8, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The PIA flight operation resumed on Tuesday after successful negotiations between the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Air Line Pilots Association (Palpa).

The flight operation remained suspended for three days over concerns about the safety of pilots, crew members and passengers in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The first flight for Toronto left Lahore on Tuesday, while another PIA aircraft was leaving Islamabad for Baghdad to bring back the national trapped in Iraq.

The PIA spokesman said the airlines was taking all the corona related precautionary measures including disinfection of the aircraft and the passengers’ luggage.

Meanwhile, the Palpa and the Aviation Division have reached an agreement on the airline operations in the wake of COVID-19.

A meeting was held under the chairmanship of Hassan Nasir Jamy, Secretary Aviation Division, with the representatives of Palpa on Tuesday to discuss the association’s reservations about the corona related safety measures.

The Security Division assured the Palpa of full support and readiness to adopt all measures for the safety and well-being of pilots and crew members.

According to the agreement, the pilot-in-command will ensure the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the PCAA.

A certificate will be countersigned and verified by the PCAA Inspector from the Directorate of Flight Standards and Directorate of Airworthiness.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) Inspector will brief the captain and the flight will operate upon satisfaction of the captain and the airlines will not be held responsible.

Moreover, the airlines will ensure that the cabin crew and the relevant ground handling staff had been fully briefed/trained and the PCAA SOPs fully complied with at every level.

The pilot’s unwillingness over COVID-19 related issues will be communicated to the airlines in writing, while the airlines will provide appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to the cockpit and cabin crew with immediate effect.

“We are thankful to the Aviation Division for understanding the seriousness of this issue and resolving it,” said the Palpa General Secretary Captain Narejo.

He said the agreement will ensure safety of passengers and crew besides enhancing the credibility of the national airlines.

He said it was rather unfortunate that some vested interests in the airline having no knowledge of aviation tried to sabotage the Palpa’s sincere efforts to seek protective equipment for the crew and safety precautions for the passengers.