ISLAMABAD: The stand-off between Pakistan International (PIA) and the Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) continued for the fourth straight day on Sunday, with over 60 flights cancelled by the previous afternoon and the list expected to get longer.
Thousands of passengers who have paid good money and trusted the national carrier continue to hang in limbo, with several of them Hajj pilgrims who are waiting to return home. PIA on Saturday extended an official invitation to PALPA to sit down for negotiations.
A delegation of PALPA has departed from Karachi for Islamabad today where it will meet the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Aviation Shujat Azeem for negotiations. The strike, however, will continue during this time with passengers continuing to suffer the consequences of cancelled flights.
The government is considering including pilots’ duties into mandatory service, sources told Geo News on Sunday. According to the sources, the pilots will not be able to go on strike if their employment is converted into mandatory service.
The government is also considering bringing in pilots from abroad, the sources added.
PIA’s senior pilots are receiving over Rs1.5million per month in salaries, with the government spending over Rs3 billion per annum for pilots’ benefits and facilities.
The new demands put forth by the pilots will increase pressure on the government’s already-burdened kitty.