Pakistan International Airlines ‘forgets’ two coffins in US

Pakistan International Airlines forgot to carry two coffins meant to be flown from New York to Karachi, leaving the cash-strapped national carrier red-faced yet again, according to a media report.

PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar said the mistake was committed by an agency providing luggage handling service to the carrier, the Express Tribune reported.

The PIA has expressed regret over the incident and sympathised with the mourning families.

Tajwar said the Chief Executive Officer of PIA, Dr Musharraf Rasool has taken note of the incident, adding that legal action will be taken against those responsible.

Rasool has also ordered the airline to take responsibility for all funeral arrangements in consultation with the families.

On the instructions of the family, one body will now be flown in by the Etihad Airline and arrive tomorrow in Pakistan while the second will be laid to rest in a graveyard in Maryland in the United States itself, the report said.

The goof-up occurred amid reports that the PIA will review its flight operations to the United States from October 31 due to financial issues.

The carrier had temporarily stopped booking US-bound flights for November after the management started mulling over ending operations to the US, an earlier report in the Express Tribune had said.

“We are in the process of devising a strategy for our flights to the US, and will have something more concrete by Monday,” Tajwar had said earlier.

The PIA had already merged some US flights due to weak passenger load to avoid losses, he added.

He further stated that PIA has been operating flights to the US since 1961, with five weekly flights to the US cities, but they will now be brought down to two flights in a week.

According to the PIA’s financial statement for up to September 2016, the total liabilities of the airline mounted to Rs 349 billion as against Rs 113.8 billion assets, the report said.

The losses of the national flag carrier are rising with each passing day, the report had said.

The PIA has fallen into an abyss of financial and image crisis and has been in the news for the wrong reasons.

The first Asian airline ever to receive maintenance approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  was banned by the European Union in 2007 based on safety concerns for its aging fleet.

“Who would believe that the first airline ever to show in-flight movies on international routes and to use the first computer ever in Pakistan, would someday lose its customer base because people would perceive it as archaic and out-dated,” a 2013 article in the Express Tribune rued.

It was the first Asian airline ever to receive maintenance approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The license of a senior pilot and a first officer of the airline were revoked for carrying more passengers than the maximum allowed on a flight to Saudi Arabia in January.

Some PIA crew members were detained in London earlier this year for allegedly carrying drugs.

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