PIA head of­fices re­open as flights ‘par­tially’ re­sume

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­lines (PIA) head of­fices in Karachi and Is­lam­abad re­opened Mon­day, fol­low­ing ' par­tial re­sump­tion' of flight op­er­a­tions at var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional air­ports across Pak­istan, PIA spokesman Daniyal Gil­lani said.

PIA flight op­er­a­tions par­tially re­sumed at Karachi's Jin­nah In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Mon­day, where flight PK 732 ar­rived at 1:50pm ? nearly 12 hours later, how­ever, than its sched­uled ar­rival time ? car­ry­ing pil­grims from Jed­dah. Af­ter re­main­ing sus­pended for six days be­cause of the em­ploy­ees' strike, PIA flight op­er­a­tions par­tially re­sumed on Sun­day when the air­line's two Boe­ing air­craft brought home 725 pil­grims stranded in Saudi Ara­bia.

Two more planes took off from Is­lam­abad's Be­nazir Bhutto In­ter­na­tional Air­port for Jed­dah on Sun­day night to bring back the re­main­ing pil­grims. An­other flight (PK-211) left for Dubai in the evening. The air­line's ATR flight with four peo­ple on board landed at the Gil­git air­port and re­turned to Is­lam­abad with the pas­sen­gers stranded there. One do­mes­tic and four in­ter­na­tional flights were op­er­ated from La­hore, but op­er­a­tions from other air­ports of the coun­try could not re­sume.

How­ever, PIA em­ploy­ees voiced con­cerns that proper safety pro­to­col had not been fol­lowed to put the planes in the air. PIA en­gi­neers warned the man­age­ment against op­er­at­ing flights with­out en­sur­ing the air­craft's main­te­nance pro­to­cols as it may cause se­ri­ous safety haz­ards. The So­ci­ety of Air­craft En­gi­neers of Pak­istan said: "The PIA man­age­ment is forc­ing the en­gi­neers to re­lease the air­craft with­out ac­com­plish­ment of the pre­req­ui­sites which are manda­tory as per ICAO and PCAA reg­u­la­tions. The safety of pas­sen­gers and the air­craft it­self is be­ing jeop­ar­dised. In­spec­tions and com­po­nents' re­place­ment is­sues are be­ing waived off by PCAA Pak­istan un­der pres­sure by the govern­ment of­fi­cials,"

On Sun­day night, a warn­ing let­ter about the ap­pli­ca­tion of the Pak­istan Es­sen­tial Ser­vices (Main­te­nance) Act, 1952, was de­liv­ered to strik­ing em­ploy­ees to make them aware that their strike was il­le­gal, the PIA spokesman said. The em­ploy­ees protest­ing against the govern­ment move to pri­va­tise the na­tional flag car­rier had re­jected the Act af­ter it was im­posed on Feb 2, and threat­ened to bring the flight op­er­a­tions to a stand­still.

The let­ter says the law en­vis­ages se­ri­ous penal­ties, in­clud­ing dis­missal from ser­vice and im­pris­on­ment for a max­i­mum pe­riod of one year along with a fine, for the protest­ing em­ploy­ees. The Act has been im­posed for six months. The em­ploy­ees were ad­vised in the let­ter to re­frain from in­dulging in any ac­tiv­ity tan­ta­mount to an of­fence un­der the Act, fail­ing which they might be­come li­able for pros­e­cu­tion in court, be­sides fac­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion un­der the cor­po­ra­tion's rules.

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