PIA crosses all limits; Confiscates passengers checked in luggage July 7, 2017

Chitral : Pakistan International Airline’s irresponsibility and obduracy has crossed all limits. 25 of the 46 passengers on board PK 660 flying from Islamabad landed at the Chitral airport without their luggage on Sunday 02 Jun 2017. Amongst these passengers were 14 foreign tourists. Others were mostly ladies and children.

The foreign tourists were happy and laughing all through the flight but after landing when they came to know that their luggage had been dropped off and the next flight was after five days, they went into a shock and slumped on the chairs like dead bodies. One of the tourist vowed that he would nver travel by PIA again and if there was no alternative he would cancel that trip. A lady passenger started crying saying all her children’s paraphernalia and her medicines which cannot be found in Chitral were in the bag which has been off loaded at Islamabad. A staff present at the luggage collection point said some pieces of checked in baggage which was off loaded in Islamabad on 16 June have not yet reached Chitral. Qatar Airways ridicules PIA

When the local PIA station manager Mr Zahid was contacted on telephone he admitted they were having this problem since quite some time. He said he had written and Emailed the authorities in Islamabad a number of times but no body paid heed to his complaints., he said .. CN report, 02 Jul 2017.

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12 Comments

  • Zeba Munzar says:

    My family travelled to gilgit on 19 July with no baggage..it reached them after four days…how they survived in the cold weather God knows

  • dr karim says:

    Dear Editor..The national flag carrier is for the people ..if the people take a good care of their (national assets) airliner/railways etc, it will keep on improving….all you might have seen that people mostly us the Chitralis and the pakistanis behave abnormally and are frequent litterer inside the aircraft…many youths I have observed many times talk to female cabin crews not taking care of ethics and when talking to females… so many times there is cabin announcements to switch off their mobile phones and other electronic gadgets( because they interfere with aircraft’s communication system) but see how many switched them off..not a single person even.. you have frequently observed that when the aircraft touches down and applying brakes on the runway people stand up and drag their luggage…and these all antropies have a summation effect in the form of NASHUKRI..and all of us know that what is the remedy/treatment of Nashukri….Nashukri is preventable…not treatable..lets take a good care of our national assets and national cuase and learn from other to care all these…

  • Shahzadi Sofia Baig says:

    Great observations by Dr. Karim. The national carrier is an asset that the people of the country have to see as their own. Once a sense of collective responsibility and respect for national institutions and assets evolves, people will change their behavior, be it on trains, buses, schools, trains or parks. Services in every sphere would improve if we honored our duties with the same passion that we demand privileges. In Pakistan as in many other places, the national carrier flies less profitable routes as part of its mandate to serve the greater national need. By any standard, fares on PIA to regional cities are below market costs to what one would expect to be profitable. These are kept down purposely because they are in part subsidized by flights to more lucrative destinations. That’s why national carriers occupy a more important place in society than a for profit entity such as a private airline. Turning around PIA should remain a priority for this and successive governments because communities in remote areas such as Chitral stand to suffer the most if this does not occur. Imagine if only for profit airlines are allowed to operate and the resultant costs for travelers from Chitral. PIA service has improved in my last few flights domestically and internationally but there is also room for more improvement, especially if luggage is being lost. I find that a lot of mudslinging against PIA takes place but we don’t appreciate the efforts of crew members and support staff who routinely deal with demanding and unruly passengers. I have seen the type of behavior described by Dr. Karim on many occasions. Shockingly I have seen some of the worst behavior displayed by expatriate Pakistanis, including Chitralis on flights from Europe, North America and the Middle East. Otherwise reserved and well behaved people who expect to be treated with respect when they work overseas suddenly transform into petty tyrants ordering staff and threatening them when dealing with PIA. I for one have no illusions about work and the dignity of all work performed but we all know a large part of our overseas working community are doing menial work which would be considered less glamorous and desirable than the airline staff positions. This is especially crew for Pakistanis in the Gulf countries. I have seen passengers routinely ignore directions by PIA staff ( sitting down when asked, not using phones, not using the toilets in turbulence) when on the flight but meekly submit to the littlest request when on foreign flights manned by foreign staff. They not only disrespect others but disrespect themselves when they behave in such a manner. Yes we should all continue to push for our rights and demand better service from PIA but it would mean more when we also learned to respect our duties by keeping planes clean, treating airline staff with dignity and respecting rules on flights.

  • With due respect to Shahzadi Sofia Beg , for information, PIA has withdrawn all subsidies from Chitral flights and we are paying the highest per nautical mile fare in Pakistan at least if not the whole world. For instance an Islamabad- Karachi one way fare on Shaheen Airline or Air Blue costs less than Rs 9000 where the aerial distance is 1000 nautical miles while Islamabad-Chitral fare is around Rs 8000 on PIA where the distance is around only a 110 nautical miles. This means the Islamabad-Chitral fare is 800 percent more expensive. How can we call this subsidized? Secondly the behaviour of certain passengers on board as mentioned by you and Dr Karim does not justify off loading baggage of even ‘well behaved’ passengers. The criticism PIA gets in the media is too little for it’s doings. The airline is totally bankrupt in all respects overridden by corruption and mismanagement. It should be privatised at the earliest and we get a decent airline. That would be in the best national interest.

  • Shahzadi Sofia Baig says:

    I would not dispute that those travelling to and from Chitral are paying the highest nautical fare in Pakistan but I would question whether travelers to Chitral are paying the highest nautical fare in the world. That being said, this fact would still have to be put into perspective.Cost per nautical mile alone cannot be the sole measure of an airline ticket. In the case of flights to Chitral, I recall several years ago that there were daily flights from Islamabad and Peshawar to Chitral. In particular the flight from Peshawar was less than half full with the result that many flights were withdrawn. The ATR aircraft which services this route has 50 odd seats and on occasion would travel with 20 or fewer passengers causing financial loss to the national carrier. When we speak of airline fares and compare the Chitral flight with other flights from large cities within Pakistan we need to speak about passenger volumes. For example, the daily flights from Islamabad to Karachi serve much larger number of travelers. Comparing these flights and the nautical cost of Islamabad to Karachi to the Chitral flight does not begin to factor in a wide list of other considerations such as passenger volume, maintenance, inclement weather at high altitudes and difficult terrain or even cancellations. PIA fares include central excise duty, service charges, provincial tax and airport tax in addition to the base cost. By the principle of economies of scale, a route which is used by an over 100 fold greater number of passengers is bound to be cheaper than the two weekly flights now operating from Islamabad / Peshawar. Keeping in mind that the straight distance from Peshawar to Chitral is 224 km or the driving distance is 325 km in no way makes this route comparable to driving the same distance in the flat lands of Sind or Punjab. My father who served many years as a pilot in the Northern Areas would say that driving and flying in our part of the world is not for the faint of heart. I agree wholeheartedly that nothing justifies off loading of baggage or losing baggage. I also understand the frustration of the Chitralnews Editor over PIA mismanagement for which there can be no excuse. Still I remain hopeful that PIA can somehow be rehabilitated but if passengers are indeed being fleeced, why is it that no other private airline such as Shaheen or Air Blue starts charter flights to Chitral? I do worry that we be careful about we wish for since a privatized PIA may well cancel flights to less profitable routes as has happened in the privatization of other national airlines in the world.

  • dr karim says:

    Great deliberation from Shahzadi S Baig sahiba..we have to think many times and act as role model to teach and follow up our youth….these things like national cause,national assets ,the environment,the ethics all the foundation of islamic values of human dignity be included in school curriculum…I disagree with Chitralnews.com that luggage left behind in Islamabad and irregularities to name a few are the rewards we are deserved off….
    May Allah bless all our country and the planet earth….but we have to contribute does,t matter if small in quantum to leave this planet earth as safest place to live for the coming generation..this should be the common goal of humanity in this century at least…..

  • Akhtar Ali says:

    My luggage was off loaded from the mentioned flight on 2 July. As the next flight was after five days and no hopes of getting it on that flight too, I sent my brother to retrieve the baggage from Islamabad airport. He had to wait for three hours at the airport as the concerned staff was not available and after raising hue and cry did someone attend him. With much difficulty he retrieved my luggage and set it by bus. If this was a civilised country the airline would have to pay penalty beside rendering an apology but here they did a favour to give back my luggage which was confiscated by the airline as rightly put in the report.

  • Saad says:

    Seriously unbelievable. Personally this airline should be closed down. Their services are horrible and this will continue. I ventuered on a flight from karachi to UK and none of the entertainment systems worked. I mean even the planes speaker system was broken so we had no idea about the flight details. Even the reading lights didn’t work

  • Zee says:

    Ms. Shahzadi Sophia and Dr. Karim, glad to read your analysis. Honestly! There are several variables and one must look at all before reaching a conclusion.

  • Akhtar Ali says:

    It is strange. How can any body have a heart to support the affairs of PIA. Off loading passengers luggage and then not willing to hand them over to the kith and kin who go to retrieve them from the PIA airport office along with all relevant documents is simply criminal. How can one have a soft corner for an airline which is bleeding the public exchequer to the tune of millions of rupees per month due to its corruption and inefficiency. How can one justify an airline employing 500 staff per aircraft where the industry standard is 40 staff per aircraft, how? how?. It is surprising that eminent persons like Shahzadi Sofia and Dr Karim carry a soft heart for such a wretched organisation. I suggest we need to be practical, not emotional here. That PIA was once a glorious organisation does not mean we forgive it for what it is today.

  • Ehtisham says:

    It is believed by many that there is a movement from within the organisation to fail the airline to such an extent that nobody dares purchase it and they continue milking the terminally ill cow till it finally capitulates.

  • Syed says:

    I would like to kindly disagree with Sophia Baig’s analysis. Although your economic analysis is true yet one should remember that there used to be 3 daily flights to Chitral. Despite a smaller population and unaffordability, the flights used to be full to capacity. When the Chitral-Islamabad service started in 2009 (I guess), it was almost impossible to get a ticket without having contacts in PIA. I bought my tickets after due deliberation with the PIA staff insisting that I might be offloaded since the plane was full to capacity. After arrival I saw that there were a total of 9 passengers in the ATR. A few other times I travelled and found that the number of passengers barely crossed 15. As expected the PIA services were reduced due to less passenger utilization.
    I believe the prices are jacked up to decrease the number of passengers and thus the number of flights. I don’t see a reason why a person would travel by road as compared to taking the plane if the latter’s fares are lowered.

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