Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has suspended its special flight operation from Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport after its crew was mishandled at the airport on Sunday.
CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik directed to halt flight operations from Karachi and shift them to Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport.
As per the details, PIA had operated two special flights on Saturday for London and Manchester with nearly 600 British passengers stranded in Pakistan.
When the London flight returned on Sunday, the entire crew of the flight, including the pilots, was manhandled and forcibly put into quarantine by the health teams at the airport in suspicion that they might be COVID-19 carriers.
After a long deliberation with PIA officials, the authorities conducted their tests. The reports that came late at night, all four crew members were cleared and allowed to go home.
An hour after the incident, the Pakistan Airlines Pilot Association (PALPA) issued an advisory for its members, asking them not to operate any flights until further notice. It said that the SOPs were not being followed, which could endanger its members’ lives.
PALPA officials said that as per SOPs, the crew members were not required to be quarantined because they did not leave the plane. But Sindh government officials insisted upon isolating them which was unnecessary and against the government directives.
The PIA chief had to intervene. He contacted the association and raised concerns over the unfair treatment of the Sindh government with its pilots and crew members. He assured them an inquiry into the matter and also ordered to transfer flight operations to Lahore Airport.
Speaking on the issue, PIA spokesperson, Abdullah Hafeez said that PIA management is strictly adhering to the guidelines set by the government of Pakistan. This includes the disinfection of the plane for the health and safety of its crew members.
He condemned the Karachi Airport incident calling it against the government directives. Hafeez mentioned that the concerned authorities had been informed three hours before the plane landed. Yet, the Sindh health officials insisted on quarantining the crew members, he added.