ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Airlines Pilots’ Association (PALPA) said Sunday a pilot who had captained a flight from Canada to the country was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
In its statement earlier today, the PALPA said the pilot had flown an airplane from Canada to Pakistan and had tested positive for COVID-19 after landing in the country.
The viral disease has so far infected over 5,100 people and killed nearly 90 in Pakistan.
The pilots’ body lamented how its advice for precautionary measures was ignored, saying its suggestions were made specifically to avoid such an event from taking place.
Police took away the pilot from the hotel in a manner as if he was arrested for some crime, the captains’ association said.
On April 7, the PIA had confirmed in a statement that six of its workers — including a pilot, two cabin crew members, and an aircraft technician — had contracted the virus but did not say how and when this occurred. A spokesperson had insisted that all pilots and crew members were performing duties while wearing personal protection equipment (PPE).
PIA, PALPA tussle
The PALPA and the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have been at loggerheads over pilots’ safety as well as failure to adhere to protocol. The national carrier had earlier alleged that the Sindh health department’s officials insisted on forcefully quarantining the pilots despite instructions.
A report in The News had stated that the dispute arose after the PIA flight crew was detained in Karachi, with the PALPA claiming that safety had been compromised and that the COVID-19-related SOPs were ignored during the recent “humanitarian flights”.
PALPA President Captain Chaudhry Salman had also claimed that the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) failed to ensure preset rules and regulations and that the negligence was a disaster for the airline. He had further alleged that the PIA was also violating its own rules by compelling pilots to perform duties for over 24 hours.
Airlines to provide PPEs to pilots
Insiders had revealed earlier this week that the pilots’ association had approached the Prime Minister House — which reportedly told it to consult with the PIA chief operating officer — and Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who advised the association to talk to the civil aviation secretary.