RAWALPINDI:Three Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights to Gilgit and Skardu from Islamabad were cancelled on Monday after the Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (Palpa) refused to operate any flight due to coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOP) being ignored and two pilots and a member of cabin crew testing positive for Covid-19.
In a letter to its members, Palpa said safety was compromised and coronavirus-related SOPs ignored on recently operated humanitarian flights.
Palpa General Secretary Imran Narejo told Dawn: “Our strike is continuing. No measures have been taken by the management regarding the safety of pilots and other crew members as three pilots and three cabin crew members have been affected by the virus.”
He said Palpa would not compromise on the safety of its members in any circumstances.
The association decided to halt flight operations after four crew members of a special PIA flight were placed in isolation by Sindh health authorities upon their arrival in Karachi from Toronto on Sunday.
PIA flights PK-605 and PK-607 for Gilgit and PK-451 for Skardu were cancelled, but two special flights scheduled to arrive from Birmingham and Uzbekistan carrying more than 250 stranded Pakistanis landed at at IIA on Monday.
PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez told Dawn that efforts were underway to keep flight operations ongoing without any halts.
He said negotiations are being held with Palpa to resolve the issue, although the PIA took all safety measures for staff and passengers.
According to the Aviation Division, after the closure of flight operation Civil Aviation Authority staff disinfected Gilgit airport with chlorinated water.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2020