PIA strike grounds passengers across country

Private airlines raise their fares by almost three times as a strike by PIA employees enters its fourth day

Afp February 05, 2016

KARACHI: Major Pakistan airports remained crippled by industrial action Friday as a strike by employees of the national flag carrier against plans to privatise the airline entered its fourth day.

All of Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) foreign and domestic flights were suspended Friday with thousands of passengers, including Pakistani domestic workers trying to fly to the Middle East, stranded at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport and other key hubs.

Plan drawn up for new airline: official

"My visa is about to expire in the next three days and I have to reach Dubai before that but here I am stuck at the airport," Sualma Jia, who works at a hotel in Dubai, told AFP in Karachi.

She said she was not even able to retrieve her luggage from the airline.

"My future is at stake here, I tried a few private airlines but they have raised their fares by almost three times," she said.

PIA spokesperson Danial Hassan Gillani said agreements had been reached with rival airlines to fly all domestic and international passengers, including dozens of pilgrims heading for Saudi Arabia who held a protest after their flight was cancelled.

Airfares take off when PIA doesn’t

However, passengers must pay any price increase and the backlog is expected to take days to clear, with no end in sight to the industrial action.

Earlier this week, two protesting airline employees were shot dead and several more wounded at Karachi's international airport when clashes broke out between security forces and staff, though authorities denied opening fire.

The strike continues despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's warning the demonstration was illegal and those taking part could face up to a year in prison under a law that restricts union activity in state-administered sectors.

With PIA off track, Railways earns extra

In December, Islamabad announced it would complete the partial sale of the carrier by July, following years of crushing losses and mismanagement that have battered the airline's reputation.

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feedback | 5 years ago | Reply No! only khaqan abbasi should be brought to tiral. Its time to bring back the tax money rather losing it. Khaqan abbasi should be put behind bars for defunding and making sure that things are not working for PIA, for swapping parts of PIA to Air blue. An inquiry should be launched into Air blue. He is the reason PIA hired more people than were required, the Chairman board of directors Jaffer should be sent behind bars too. These clever crooks think they can destroy things and get away with them easily. Who will do the accountability is a question mark because NAB is as corrupt as these ministers. SC should take a suo moto.
Shabbir | 5 years ago | Reply Shame for PIA Staff. PIA has 38 aeroplanes and its staff is 18,500. It is too much. PIA should be privatized.
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