KARACHI: This is with the reference to a letter in your newspaper of May 19 titled ‘PIA PK 306’ by Jameel Akhtar. While PIA empathises with the plight of the passengers, it must be understood that the writer appears misinformed about the events that took place on PK 306 on May 16.
In order to gain better understanding of the issue, the writer is advised to read the conditions of contract which states that: A carrier undertakes to use its best efforts to carry the passenger and baggage with reasonable dispatch; times shown in timetables or elsewhere are not guaranteed and form no part of this contract; a carrier may without notice substitute alternative carriers or aircraft, and may alter or omit stopping places shown on the ticket in the case of necessity; schedules are subject to change without notice; a carrier assumes no responsibility for passengers making connections.
On PK 306, after the aircraft was manoeuvring for takeoff, certain passengers behaved in an unruly manner and left their assigned seats with a few even attempting to gain access to the cockpit, thereby jeopardising safety and making it impossible for the flight to continue. The aircraft, then, had to return to the parking area. In developed countries where consumer rights are more rigorously pursued, the above behaviour could have been construed as an attempt to hinder safety operations with far-reaching and dire consequences. However, PIA was more accommodating to the passengers’ behaviour. Sadly, had the disruption not occurred the passengers would have arrived in Lahore with a one-hour delay after relieving the stranded passengers at Faisalabad. After the disruption, security actions were taken by the relevant security agencies. By then, the distressed passengers had to suffer a much longer and arduous delay.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2010.