Door is open for negotiations with PALPA: PIA Chairman


KARACHI: Two days after the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA) strike caused travel chaos leading to delay of dozens of flights, Pakistan International Airlines Chairman Nasir Jafar on Friday told media he was not even aware of what that buzz was all about.


Speaking at a press conference, Jafar not only did express his ignorance about the demands of the PALPA but also appeared oblivious to losses inflicted to the national flag carrier in the face of the dispute between the pilots and the PIA.

Jafar, however, assured the passengers that the authorities would do their best to resolve the issue as soon as possible as doors for negotiations with PALPA were not closed, adding that arrangements are being made to send the passengers through other airlines to their destinations.

“We have no system in place to gauge magnitude of the losses,” said he, while responding to a question. In stark contradiction to his earlier remarks about his unawareness about the PALPA demands, he went on to say the management of the PIA was considering the demands of the pilots to address them in accordance with law.

The PIA chairman didn’t explain as to how the demands could be considered when the management of the PIA was not even informed about them.

“I don’t know what is happening in media, but we have been negotiating with pilots since September 28 to resolve their issues,” Nasir Jafar said, adding that more than 35 flights have been canceled owing to PALPA.

Nasir also elaborated on steps being taken by the authorities to improve affairs of the PIA, saying that an agreement has been signed with Qatar to acquire 13 aircraft despite the financial woes the national airline is faced with.

It is noted here that the dispute began when the PIA management reportedly suspended two pilots, prompting PALPA to go on unannounced strike.

Earlier in the day, a spokesman for the PIA said the PALPA should not disturb thousands of passengers for their “small gains”.

In a statement, he said those pilots who were on sick leave due to PALPA pressure, were roaming on the roads.

He said that PALPA was trying to remove Director Flight Operation from his post who declined to observe its strike call, adding, Captain Qasim Hayat was removed from his position due to PALPA pressure.

He pointed out that the CBA Union of the national flag carrier had submitted its charter of demand in February this year which was under process for approval.

He informed that Karachi-Lahore flights PK 302 and PK 303 were cancelled after PALPA’s General Secretary, Captain Suhail Ahmed refused to operate the flights.