People, Travel

Pakistan Airline Admits Taking Extra Passengers

Seven extra passengers were on-board the Karachi-Medina flight.Seven extra passengers were on-board the Karachi-Medina flight.

Pakistan International Airlines is investigating how seven extra passengers were allowed to stand in the aisles on a flight to Saudi Arabia.

PIA Spokesman Danyal Gilani told BBC that “the matter is under investigation and appropriate action will be taken once responsibility is fixed”.

When asked how long the inquiry will take, he said it was “not possible to put a timeframe on it”.

The passengers were allowed on the January 20 flight to Medina despite every seat being filled, the airline said.

Details of the flight have only emerged now because of extensive investigations by the newspaper Dawn.

Staff had issued additional handwritten boarding passes, the paper reported.

Such an overcrowded flight would have caused problems in an emergency evacuation, aviation experts said, and passengers would not have had access to oxygen if it was suddenly required.

This is the first time the airline is known to have boarded excess passengers on a flight.

The flight in question went from Karachi to Medina carrying a total of 416 passengers, on a Boeing 777 with a total seating capacity of 409, including staff seats.

Dawn accuses Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority of “not taking punitive action against the airline or its staffers for putting the passengers’ lives at risk”.

The newspaper quoting airline sources accuses PIA ground traffic staff of issuing handwritten—rather than computer-generated—boarding passes to the extra passengers.


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