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Tuesday May 09, 2017

PIA pilot endangers lives, invites unauthorised woman into cockpit

ISLAMABAD: Another pilot of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been accused of endangering the lives of his passengers and risking security after he allowed an unauthorised foreign national into the cockpit during landing.

Captain Shahzad Aziz, the PIA pilot in question, invited a young Chinese woman during PIA flight PK-853 from Tokyo to Beijing earlier this week into the cockpit, according to a Geo News correspondent flying on the same plane. 

The woman, who was not authorised into the cabin area, stayed inside the cockpit with the pilot and first officer for over two hours, coming out only after the plane landed. At one point during the two hours, the woman was in the cockpit alone with just the pilot.

Geo News correspondent Irfan Siddiqui, who happened to be flying on the same plane, recorded video of the incident with his mobile phone.

The young woman declined to give any comments when Siddiqui asked her if she was a friend or relative of the pilot's.

PIA said it was trying to get in touch with the flight crew over the reported incident. 

According to law, unauthorised persons are not allowed into the cockpit at any time during flights as it is a safety hazard, with the responsibility lying with the pilot to ensure that no unauthorised person enters the restricted part of the aircraft.

However, responding to the report, a PIA spokesperson said inviting a single passenger into the cockpit was not a security concern. 

This is not the first time that PIA pilots and crew have been involved in similar incidents.

Last month, PIA launched an investigation against a senior pilot operating an Islamabad-to-London flight (PK-785) after he was accused of handing over the aircraft to an under-training pilot following take-off and taking a two-and-a-half-hour nap in the passenger compartment.

According PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani, Captain Amir Hashmi has been taken off flying duty due to the ongoing investigation.

In December 2015, a PIA pilot faced an inquiry for allowing Reham Khan, the ex-wife of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, to sit in the cockpit during her journey to Lahore from London.

PIA orders inquiry into the incident

The director-general of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ordered an investigation into the incident, CAA spokesperson said.

According to the spokesman, the investigation will unearth facts about the incident and the pilot will be probed based on that.