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PIA management’s “cost-cutting exercise is actually compromising flight safety: PALPA

Wing Commander Kamran Anjum is not new to controversy as his photo holding a gun next to PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar is viral content on social media.

The dispute between Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) management in uniform and its pilots are turning ugly with every passing day. After PIA management was replaced with serving airforce officials many in PIA complain about the overstressed working environment of the airlines. Even the airline key association Pakistan Airline Pilots’ Association (PALPA) issued a statement citing the same on Friday.

The statement said that the current non-conducive environment at PIA has been resulting in the non-retention of its talent as eight pilots have resigned this year while many others are considering this option due to poor policies and unfair scheduling of flights by the management of the airline.

According to the statement, First Officer Khurram Baloch resigned on the 17th of this month after working for the airlines for nine years. In his letter to Director Flight Operations (DFO), he said he has started feeling suffocated with the current working environment forcing him to work or face dire consequences.

Similarly, and Airbus A320 Captain Adnan Ahmed Malik wrote in his resignation letter to the CEO PIA cited the dysfunctional organizational culture at PIA the main reason for his resignation. Other pilots who resigned include Capt Faisal Younis (after 15 years of service), Captain Bakhtawar Hussain Jaffery (after 19 years of service), Captain Sadia Aziz (after 15 years of service), F/O Alison Oscar (after 7 years of service), F/O Humza Zain (after 9 years of service) and F/O Zuhair Ilyas (after 4 years of service).

Earlier, Pakistan Air Line Pilots’ Association President Rizwan Gondal wrote a letter to the Director General Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) regarding crew fatigue with double sets/ augmented crew. He wrote “PIACL has recently introduced some changes in FDTL planning which carries a very high element of fatigue,” stated the letter, adding that this cost-cutting exercise is actually compromising flight safety.

He mentioned that these augmented flights are in violation of the bilateral PALPA-PIAC Working Agreement 2011-2013 and this new flight situation would not allow pilots to avail themselves of the allocated rest time, while rest periods before and after the flights are not defined by the operator and are not reflected on their rosters.

He stated that PIACL schedule has failed to keep in mind the effects of fatigue, compounding adverse effect on crew health and therefore safety of flight. “The same is reflected in a number of captains’ de-briefs. Majority of our crew are reluctant to accept these flights. However, those on contract are forced to carry out these duties under pressure in fear of losing their contracts,” stated President Palpa.

“As a result of such policies, the backlog is tremendous. Our membership is suffering professional anxiety on account of being deprived of their legitimate expectancies. “Pilot productivity is at its lowest. The management is unwilling to reconsider its current modus operandi which is unworkable,” stated the Palpa president.

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