PIA passengers at Islamabad airport depart after 9 hour wait

Published: June 9, 2012
Passengers said that they first took off at 1pm for Dubai but landed at the airport after 45 minutes. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Passengers said that they first took off at 1pm for Dubai but landed at the airport after 45 minutes. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

RAWALPINDI: Passengers travelling to Dubai in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight on Saturday finally departed for their destination after languishing at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) in Islamabad for at least nine hours, The Express Tribune learnt.

PIA flight PK-211 took off at 1pm, as per schedule. However, passengers were surprised to receive instructions to prepare for a landing after being in the air for only 45 minutes. Moreso since they had booked for a non-stop two hour flight to the Emirate state.

Passengers were later told that the air craft was making a safe landing at BBIA after crew had detected a burning smell in the fuselage, a passenger told The Express Tribune.

Passenger Hamza Abbasi said sine the plane landed back at the air port it had taken off from. He said the crew of the flight informed the passengers that a technical problem had occurred in the plane and another plane was being arranged from Karachi to keep up PIA’s responsibility of completing their journey. The other plane, passengers were told, would reach Islamabad by 6pm. However, what awaited them was more misery than relief.

Already waiting at the airport for close to three hours, when passengers boarded the changeover aircraft, they were made aware of another technical fault in their new aircraft and were subsequently offloaded.

“It has been four hours since the change of the plane but we are yet to take off,” Abbassi said. Narrating information he had received from the crew, he said that the plane had developed some communication faults and that the engineers were currently trying to repair the plane.

When contacted, PIA Spokesperson Sultan Ahmed said that when PK-211 took off, crew noticed an odour of stuff burning, emanating from the storage bay. Pilots then followed standard operating procedures and returned to BBIA for a full inspection. This inspection was still underway.

Ahmed added that initial investigations had shown that a shipment of mangoes in the cargo hold of the plane contained carbide, a chemical used for catalysing ripening of fruit. The chemical had a reaction to the moisture in the cabin, causing it to effervesce and create fumes.

As luck would have it, the spokesperson said that the new plane requested to take passengers to Dubai too developed fault. He added that as soon as the faults are removed the flight will take off.

The plane finally departed at 10:30 pm.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Sky
    Jun 10, 2012 - 12:52AM

    The good news is they departed


  • Khalq e Khuda
    Jun 10, 2012 - 3:37AM

    I wish you would also report the consistent failure of Emirates to land and depart on time. It is on average one to two hours late; in fact it is all to common to delay and combine a flight with the next one. This constant publishing of PIA’s tardiness on the front page is giving the country a bad and misleading perception as the flights are still mostly (upto 90% at least) on time!


  • Nadeem
    Jun 10, 2012 - 11:57AM

    @Khalq e Khuda:
    This spirit of ‘hiding facts under the carpet’ is what has lead us to this wretched place in the comity of nations.


  • current
    Jun 10, 2012 - 3:45PM

    Emirates is only delayed due to weather. Trust me they are professionals..Recommend

  • Drone_Strike
    Jun 11, 2012 - 9:52PM

    @Khalq e Khuda:
    Emirates one to two hours late? What are you talking about? Are you even a frequent flyer to make such a claim against none other then Emirates?? 90% is still quite bad and no need to defend this as efficient or normal, this perception about PIA is NOT misleading, we all know too well. Maybe you should know more about airlines or not comment at all. Thank you.


  • Hassan
    Jun 11, 2012 - 10:56PM

    Blame the Mangoes again. Even Zia’s crash was blamed on the mangoes :D


  • Don't fly PIA
    Jun 27, 2012 - 10:51PM

    A delay like that without any weather or strike problem is atrocious. They might as well have cancelled the flight and booked passengers them on next flight.


  • Mustafa
    Jun 28, 2012 - 9:21AM

    while the misery the passengers had to put up with is deeply regretted, such incidents are commonplace in the airline industry, i can’t seem to understand why PIA seems to make headlines when it really is no big deal. Airlines all over the world have technical issues and their media takes it with a pinch of salt.
    How many times have the media put up news on delay of foreign carriers that arrive and depart late from airports in Pakistan. I know for a fact that EK has flight delays too but media and the passengers somehow very conveniently forgive the airline. PK sure does have some serious issues that warrant immediate attention, but we must not forget that the airline finds itself in this dismal state only beacuse the government does not wish to see it run as a commercial airline.


  • ROSE
    Jul 6, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Yes blame the mangoes or a dead pilot ,none of whom can argue back but never blame the old ,not fit to fly aircrafts and inefficiency or irresponsibilty of people in our airline industry and PIA makes it most in our headlines because it is our flag bearer national carrier so it is our concern, because we feel ashamed as per their lack of punctuality, or seats that are falling apart or when rotten inedible food is served( i bet they served 10 hours standing rotting food to passengers).


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