August 03: Pakistan Airline’s Pilots Association (Palpa) has called an emergency general body meeting of its members in the wake of continuous violation of aviation rules and regulations by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) management.

Palpa’s spokesman stated that the membership meeting has been called due to airline’s management’s non-serious attitude and continuous violation of its own Flight Operation Manual, CAA Flight Safety Rules and International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO Safety Guidelines is putting both the aircraft and passengers’ safety at risk, while it has not paid any heed to our repeated reminders regarding safety violations.

He said the management has recently introduced some changes in Flight Duty Time Limitation FDTL planning which carries a very high element of fatigue, while negligence and anomalies in flight operations is taking a heavy toll on PIA and causing unnecessary anguish to our crew.

In a communication to PIA CEO the PALPA said “it was clearly mentioned in PIA PALPA Agreement through which the relationship between the two is governed, PALPA will be taken on board of any policy decision and all actions will be taken bilaterally. However, it is extremely unfortunate to mention that there are few elements within your team who have their own vested interests and are unnecessarily taking arbitrary actions with regard to crew duties causing unrest within the pilot community, which in turn de-motivates our members and put flight safety at risk.

PIACL scheduling 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’ debriefs and therefore, the 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. This is a very dangerous trend and needs to be addressed by the PCAA and if noticed by the ICAO it can have serious consequences for the national carrier.

In our considered opinion, this exercise is to give precedence to commercial aspects over crew rest requirement/fatigue concerns, which in turn is becoming basis of compromised flight safety, hence the present operation is in violation of the bilateral PALPA-PIAC Working Agreement 2011-2013 as per clause 3.7.1.(c).

The clause states: “Augmented crew operations shall be avoided as far as possible. However, if unavoidable, it will be applicable on Jet aircrafts only and not applicable where frequency of scheduled flight of any equipment is more than once a week.”

Also, matters relating to substandard accommodation to pilots at different stations have been highlighted on numerous occasions since it is not a luxury as having a sound sleep before flights is also considered to be imperative professional duty of a pilot.

Moreover, the pilots of national carrier have showed concerns over the pick-and-drop service for the airline crew, particularly pilots, as it has been proving a security risk.

Palpa through different communications to the concerned PIA department and senior executives of the management has pointed out these violations causing restlessness and fatigue to the pilots at foreign stations including ongoing Hajj flights.

During the Hajj operation, Palpa received many complaints from its members regarding frequently denied boarding by the traffic staff at the last minute, even after their boarding cards were issued, some of these crew were required at base but after their denial to boarding they checked-in to the hotel, causing disruption in their pattern while the airline was burdened with unnecessary financial penalty.

The spokesman regretted that many of the issues are still unresolved even after six months. Now, the association has decided to put these complaints before the general body of Palpa so that the next line of action could be taken with consensus.

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