ISLAMABAD, Oct 3, (AFP): Some 51 flights scheduled by the Pakistani flag carrier have been cancelled in three days after pilots refused to work following a dispute over conditions, an airline spokesman said Saturday. “Due to pressure from PALPA (Pakistan Airline Pilots’ Association) so far 51 flights have been cancelled and it has affected 5,000 passengers since Thursday,” spokesman for Pakistan International Airline (PIA) Danyal Gilani said in a statement.
The row started after the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority suspended the licences of two pilots for one and two years respectively for “unlawfully operating flight without permission,” he said. “In the guise of their personal agenda, PALPA leadership is blackmailing the management to agree to unjust promotions and unjustified benefits for PALPAexecutives,” the spokesman said. PALPA vice president Sadiq Rehman denied that pilots were exercising a “go slow” or observing a strike, but they were not taking on extra work and this is why the flights were cancelled. “We are not on a strike or go slow and only following the agreement with the management,” Rehman told AFP. “I have just flown a regular flight today,” he added. “Our main issue is that the management is asking one man to do the job of two, and get the salary of one and a half men. We want this to end,” Rehman said. He added that the association was ready for negotiations. The state-owned PIA has a fleet of 41 aircraft which include Boeing 777, Airbus A320 and ATR, and 436 active pilots.