TAXILA/RAWALPINDI: On Monday, Federal Aviation Missioner Ghulam Sarwar Khan reported that the Indian lobby’s plot was behind last month’s seizure of the Pakistan Inter-national Airlines (PIA) passenger aeroplane in Malaysia.
Because of a British court dispute over the jet’s loan, Malaysian authorities kept the PIA plane on January 15. The aircraft, however, returned on Friday to Pakistan.
Answering questions from reporters in Taxila, the minister accused the former government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of buying a foreign company’s PIA aircraft at a higher market value. He said Shujaat Azeem, the former government aviation advisor, allegedly attempted to catch kickbacks in the aircraft lease contract. Mr. Azeem was “controlled” by some Indians, he said.
The lease for that aircraft expired in July last year, he said, and the government agreed not to renew it.
PIA, meanwhile, released new instructions on Monday for its cabin crew after another flight crew member went missing shortly after the PIA flight landed in Toronto over the last two days.
After another crew member, this time an air hostess who was among the crew members of the PIA flight PK797 from Karachi to Toronto, went missing in Canada on January 31, the change by the general manager of flight services came after another crew member.
This was the second occurrence of that kind in as many days.
For its crew members, PIA released new standard operating procedures (SOPs) that included confiscating their passports on arrival on board to verify the cases of slipping away of workers in other countries.
Cabin crew passports will be stored in the station manager’s secure custody. They should be received after immigration and customs formalities on arrival and should be returned on departing flights at the time of check-in, a statement released by PIA in Rawalpindi said.
“Hotel security will be activated to ensure that everyone checks in on arrival,” the GM flight services further led. Every shortage should be reported promptly by the hotel employees.
Because of the pandemic situation, the movement of cabin crew should be limited and no one should be permitted to stay at night outside the hotel premises, the directives stated.
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A PIA spokesman acknowledged that two new cases with lost cabin crew in Canada have happened since the matter was identified to the Canadian immigration authorities.
He said no contact had been made with the crew members who had been declared missing in Toronto.
Earlier on Friday, shortly after the airline’s flight PK-798 arrived in Toronto, a PIA flight steward allegedly went missing in Canada.