Overloading in plane, PIA captain gets notice

Islamabad: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has issued notice to a pilot and two other staff members for loading seven extra passengers on a Karachi-Madina flight, officials said on Monday.

According to PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani, "disciplinary action has been taken against all concerned officials" for violation of air safety regulations on January 20, Dawn online reported.

Captain Anwer Adil, senior purser (air hostess) Hina Turab and terminal manager Akbar Ali Shah were issued notice for letting extra passengers travel on jump seats and in the cockpit on PIA flight PK-743.

The development came after an inquiry committee found the allegations to be true.

"Passengers travelled on the flight were over the aircraft configuration (including jump seats), which is a clear violation of SOP [standard operating procedures] and violation of passenger safety," read a report signed by Manager Operations Sohail Jaffar Ali.

In such cases, the aircraft should be parked again to offload extra passengers, "which was not done in this case".

"Such type of violation/irregularity cannot be ignored in which safety of the passengers is at stake."

According to sources, Captain Adil will not be able to operate flights after being issued the notice.

The Civil Aviation Authority is also investigating allegations of safety violation against the Captain.

However, Captain Adil denied that he allowed extra passengers to travel on jump seats and demanded a transparent inquiry against "whoever allowed passengers on jump-seat".

Seven passengers aboard the PIA flight were forced to stand throughout the over three-hour-long flight after excess passengers were allowed to board the aircraft.

The aircraft has a seating capacity of 409, including jump seats, while flight PK-743 carried 416 passengers.

Sources said this constituted a serious air safety breach as in the case of an emergency, passengers without seats would not have access to oxygen and cause congestion in case of an evacuation.

The PIA on Sunday said it would investigate the allegations, but denied that the extra passengers "stood in the aisles" for the three-hour journey.