Passengers left stranded as CAA DG takes plane for ride

  • SC takes suo motu notice, summons report within 48 hours 

ISLAMABAD: Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Director General Hassan Baig and friends took a PIA aircraft for an air safari on Tuesday while passengers kept on waiting for the plane’s arrival at Skardu airport.

Passengers, frustrated with the hours-long delay, lashed out at the DG CAA when he arrived at the airport.

However, Baig said he himself was part of the protest after the plane failed to reach the airport on scheduled time and denied that he took a private tour of Nanga Parbat on the national carrier.

“I went for an air safari on the invitation of PIA [Pakistan International Airlines] CEO,” he said, adding that he had been notified that the national carrier intended to start air safaris and would like him to be part of one.

“I have nothing to do with the plane being taken for an air safari,” he maintained. “None of my friends was on board the plane,” he claimed.

The CAA DG blamed PIA management for the delay, saying, “There will be an inquiry against those responsible. I have written a letter to PIA seeking clarification on the matter. It is our responsibility to regulate airlines and protect the rights of citizens,” he stated.

However, PIA spokesperson said the plane was late due bad weather and the whole episode had nothing to do with the air safari. “We had passed on a message to Skardu airport authorities that the flight will be delayed. Maybe the message was not passed on to passengers due to miscommunication,” he suggested.

“We apologise to passengers for the delay,” said the PIA spokesperson.

In response to a question regarding the demand for refund raised for protesting passengers, Tajwar said, “Passengers are only compensated when flights are cancelled.”

Following the reports of the incident, the Supreme Court took a suo motu notice of the incident and directed the CAA and PIA to submit a report before it within 48 hours.



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