Pilot hailed for dealing with crisis-like situation at Kabul airport

Published August 18, 2021
A photo of Pakistan Internat­ional Airlines Chief Executive Officer Arshad Malik (R) and Captain Maqsood Bajrani (L). — Photo courtesy PIA Twitter
A photo of Pakistan Internat­ional Airlines Chief Executive Officer Arshad Malik (R) and Captain Maqsood Bajrani (L). — Photo courtesy PIA Twitter

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Internat­ional Airlines (PIA) Chief Executive Officer Arshad Malik has praised Captain Maqsood Bajrani for bringing a PIA flight from Kabul during a crisis-like situation on Sunday.

“In a crisis situation, the use of understanding, experience and skills is a sign of a real professional,” the PIA CEO said.

He said as soon as the situation in Kabul deteriorated, the captain contacted PIA management.

Captain Bajrani of Airbus A320 was waiting to get clearance from Air Traffic Control when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on Sunday. “Take your own decision,” one of the cabin crew said following which Captain Bajrani of PIA flight PK6252 chose to take off for Islamabad.

While emergency had been declared at the airport as thick black smoke emitting from the surrounding hills could be seen from the plane, the PIA Airbus A320 was kept on hold.

A crew member said the captain promptly decided to take off after making a surprise announcement that they were ready to take off for Islamabad. She said soon afterwards the plane started moving with high speed to take off, it was because the captain was following two fighter planes running ahead of the PIA plane as he thought it better to follow them.

The crew took a sigh of relief when the captain informed them that they had entered into the territory of Pakistan. The plane landed at Islamabad International Airport at about 7.10pm on Sunday.

As the plane landed at the airport and its door opened, a PIA staff member came on to the plane and told the crew that he had an important note for the captain from the CEO.

In his message, the CEO praised Captain Bajrani for bringing the flight from Kabul after the situation deteriorated, as he flew safely in adverse conditions after informing the PIA management.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2021

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