Senior PIA captain found drunk on flight from Canada to Islamabad

Nov 26, 2021: Captain Aamir Aftab of PIA, and former Director Flight Security has reportedly been found drunk on a flight bound from Canada to Islamabad.

This isn’t the first time that a captain of the flag carrier has been embroiled in such a situation.

According to Journalist and anchorperson, Mubasher Lucman, this is not the first time that a senior PIA captain has demonstrated a lack of judgement but a former Director of flight security at least is expected to adhere to the law.

In 2020, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has introduced mandatory pre-flight alcohol testing for cabin crew. Previously, only pilots and cockpit crew had to clear the test before flying.

In 2019, a PIA pilot was stopped from operating a flight from Islamabad to Birmingham on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol after he failed the breathalyzer test.

In 2013, another PIA pilot, Irfan Faiz, was jailed for nine months in the United Kingdom for being drunk before he was due to fly a plane with 156 people on board. He was found to have four times the legal limit for a pilot in the UK.

Pakistan’s flight rules demand a 12-hour period between drinking and flying.

In 2015, a jet operated by a private Pakistani airline, Shaheen Air, skidded off the runway while landing in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore.

About 120 passengers were on board as the plane lumbered into a grassy field, blowing a tire but stopping about 1,000 feet from certain disaster. Ten passengers were slightly injured in the crash. A government investigation into the accident concluded the pilot, Asmat Mehmood, was “drunk” at the time of the crash. According to Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Mehmood had a blood alcohol level of .08.

Since 1977, alcohol has been banned in Pakistan. CAA regulations state that “no alcohol level is acceptable in the blood” of pilots, cockpit or cabin crews or passengers in Pakistan. In the United States, the CAA noted in a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations prohibits pilots from flying if their blood alcohol level exceeds .04.

The airline has also been plagued by allegations of pilots flying with fake licenses. In 2020, Pakistan International Airlines suspended 150 pilots after questions over the authenticity of their licences emerged, a spokesman told Al Jazeera.

The announcement comes a day after an initial investigation found human error was primarily responsible for a PIA plane crash that killed 98 people in Karachi. The PIA Airbus A320 crashed into a residential neighbourhood about 1.4km from Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.

After the accident, Pakistani aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told Parliament that 262 of Pakistan’s 860 active, licensed pilots had been found to have suspect licences.

Seventeen pilots were suspended in January 2019 over similar allegations following a probe into an air crash in the southwestern Pakistani town of Panjgur – where a plane carrying 43 passengers careered off the runway after making an unsafe approach.

State-owned PIA is the largest of Pakistan’s commercial air carriers, with smaller airlines Serene Air and Air Blue taking up most of the rest of the country’s air traffic.

Earlier this month, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777-200 aircraft taxiing for departure entered taxiway Q without clearance and taxied past the hold short line onto the protected area of active Runway 23 at Toronto Airport.

Also in November this year, there was a stir on all sides, according to reports, another major arrest has come to light on the charge of corruption in the entertainment project of PIA planes.

According to officials, Rs 3 billion was lost to the exchequer in the name of illegal activities. Two accused have already been arrested in the case. The FIA ​​Corporate Crime Circle says that a case has been registered against the PIA’s managerial agency affairs and further cases are being investigated. The issue of corruption came to the fore.

In a separate development yesterday, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has become the first international airline to fly to Fujairah City, the capital of the emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On arrival of the flight and CEO Arshad Malik, a traditional welcome dance was performed at the airport. Immigration of all passengers was completed in 15 minutes under special arrangements for PIA flights.

Also yesterday, upon special request of the Pakistan Hindu Council leader Dr. Ramesh Kumar, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has operated a special flight where a large number of domestic and foreign Hindu pilgrims traveled from Karachi to Peshawar via Karak.

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