Pakistan International Airline almost 15 flight crew were stopped at manchester airport and were refused entry for 72 hours because of visa issues. British border control authorities refused to allow PIA crew entry since they were not on a scheduled flight and instead on a special flight. It is understood that the PIA crew received a warning and fine previously.
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The flight PK702 arrived as a ferry flight with stranded British Pakistanis from Islamabad. Only the flight captain and the first officer of the plane had valid entry clearance but nearly a dozen crew members didn’t have visas. PIA was told by UKBA that they will be fined £30,000 for breaching the rules for the second time within two weeks.
Earlier on April 5, another PIA plane carrying UK nationals landed and the crew did not have valid visas. At that time UKBA fined PIA staff £20,000 for breaching the rules. The flight arriving on Thursday is currently at Manchester Airport’s tarmac and will fly to Dubai over the weekend.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez confirmed that the crew members were stopped by UKBA and there was a standoff for over three hours but he explained that flight attendants on scheduled flights usually stay in the UK and other countries for 48 hours maximum or less and get General Declaration (GD) for 48 hours of stay.
It is important to note that the GDs for crew members are issued for all airlines and for all countries. But in this instance PK702 was a ferry flight and will be staying in Manchester beyond 48 hours, therefore, the UKBA had a conversation with the PIA staff.
Abdullah Hafeez said that PIA is contesting the claims and “the confusion has happened due to new rules which demand that the crew members staying in the country for more than 48 hours should have a valid visa and entry clearance. We explained our position and the issues and all crew members were allowed to go out.”
The spokesman said that as far £20,000 fine is concerned, it will be challenged within the system and it will be settled. “This is a normal routine and part of the system to raise such fines, in pursuance of laws, but then these are settled during the appeal process where situations are explained and legal matters settled.”