PIA probes extra passengers in aisle

A Monitor Desk Report 26 Feb, 2017 | 723 Views|-+
Islamabad: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has launched a probe as to how seven additional passengers could fly to Saudi Arabia, standing in aisles.

The incident occurred on January 20 flight to Madinah, Dawn newspaper reported.

Staff had issued the additional handwritten boarding passes, the paper reported.

Such an over-crowded flight would have caused problems in an emergency evacuation, aviation experts said, and passengers would not have had access to oxygen if it was suddenly required.

This is the first time the airline is known to have boarded excess passengers on a flight.

The flight went from Karachi to the holy city carrying 416 passengers, on a Boeing B777 with a total seating capacity of 409, including staff seats.

Dawn accused Civil Aviation Authority Pakistan of not taking punitive action against the airline or its staff members for putting the passengers' lives at risk.

The newspaper quoting airline sources accused PIA ground traffic staff of issuing handwritten - rather than computer-generated - boarding passes to the extra passengers.

It quotes flight captain Anwer Adil as insisting that he was not told about the extra passengers until after take-off.

"I … noticed [that] some people were those who were categorically refused jump [staff] seats by me at the check-in counter before the flight", he was quoted by Dawn as saying.

"I had already taken off and the senior purser did not inform me about extra passengers before closing the aircraft door.

"Therefore after take-off [any] immediate landing back at Karachi was not possible as it required a lot of fuel dumping which was not in the interest of the airline," the pilot added.

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