Rubbish cleaning delays PIA’s Manchester flight

Published November 25, 2021
A photo of a Pakistan International Airlines airplane. — AFP/File
A photo of a Pakistan International Airlines airplane. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: A chartered flight of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from Manchester to Islamabad was delayed for four hours due to deep cleaning as the entire fuselage was littered with rubbish.

A PIA official said it was not for the first time as often the departure of flights was delayed due to the deep cleaning of the planes that has to be done before take-off.

He said that whenever a plane was littered with rubbish, especially if toilets were choked, it was handed over to engineers who thoroughly check all pipes and then give clearance.

The latest episode came to light when pictures of PK-9785 flight went viral on social media. The new plane, which was obtained by the PIA on lease from Jordanian aviation, was littered with rubbish when it landed at Manchester airport on Wednesday.

It took four hours of deep cleaning as plastic cups, water bottles, tissue papers, ripped chocolate wrappers, biscuits, and food waste were strewn on the floor after the passengers disembarked the plane. Pictures also showed toilet tissue papers strewn in the lavatory.

Seats were looking dirty with food waste and what not which was left behind by the passengers who travelled from Islamabad to Manchester. Again the plane was littered with rubbish on return to Islamabad.

“Passengers usually remain careful and behave well when they are onboard the flights operated by foreign airlines, but unfortunately, they don’t do so while onboard a PIA flight,” a spokesman for the national airline said.

He said that often there were delays in the departure of flights due to deep cleaning of the plane which caused financial loss to the airline as well as inconvenience to the passengers.

A PIA captain, who wished not to be named, said that once a PIA flight was delayed for eight hours due to the dirty condition of the plane and choked toilets. The plane was finally handed over to engineers and other relevant staff to get its drain pipes clean. He said that an alternative plane was arranged for the passengers, while the engineers opened the joints of the pipes of that plane to clean them.

A ground staffer of the airline said that such dirty conditions in the UK-Islamabad flight was not unusual; it often happened. “As they boarded the UK flight, many passengers rushed to the kitchen carrying baby feeders for milk. Some scratch warning signs, damage seats, headphones and some pull seat belts.”

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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