KARACHI: With two inquiries against Pakistan International Airlines pilots under way, the national flag carrier initiated a third inquiry against one of its pilots on Tuesday after some television channels aired a video of a passenger entering and exiting the cockpit of a PIA aircraft.

The video shows footage from flight PK-853, travelling from Tokyo to Beijing, of a Chinese girl, accompanied by a crew member, entering and exiting the cockpit. The footage does not indicate whether the aircraft was on the ground or in the air.

Sources said under civil aviation rules, unauthorised people were not allowed into the cockpit, especially during landing and takeoff. However, a person allowed by the captain, or authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority chief, could enter the cockpit while the aircraft was in flight.

PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani said the airline authorities had seen the video aired on television channels and the “matter was being investigated”. He confirmed that the pilot in command of the flight was Capt Shahzad Aziz.

In 2015, the PIA management had initiated an inquiry against a pilot who had allowed Reham Khan, former wife of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan, to sit in the cockpit during a flight from Lahore to London. Back then, the PIA spokesperson was quoted as saying: “Although it appears a courtesy on the part of the pilot, the PIA cannot ignore the rules,” adding that under the law, unauthorised persons were not allowed into the cockpit.

The PIA is also probing rules violations against two other pilots, one of whom had allowed excess passengers aboard a Saudi Arabia-bound flight and another who was photographed sleeping inside a passenger cabin on an international flight.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2017

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