Saturday Aug 31 2019

PIA lays off nearly 1,000 surplus employees

The current non-conducive environment at PIA has resulted in non-retention of its talent as eight pilots have resigned this year: PALPA. Photo: File  
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KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has laid off nearly 1,000 surplus employees and has taken other measures to reduce the operational cost of the flag carrier.

According to a statement by Pakistan Airline Pilots’ Association (PALPA), the current non-conducive environment at PIA has been resulting in the non-retention of its talent as eight pilots have resigned this year while many others are considering this option due to poor policies and unfair scheduling of flights by the management of the airline.

The relived pilots have said that due to the due to the stress at work they had to work under pressure or endure serious consequences.

PALPA President Rizwan Gondal in a letter to the Director-General Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) regarding crew fatigue with double sets/augmented crew as the reason behind the pilots' resignation.

“PIACL has recently introduced some changes in FDTL planning which carries a very high element of fatigue,” the letter said, adding that this cost cutting exercise is actually compromising flight safety.

Gondal further mentioned that these augmented flights were in violation of the bilateral PALPA-PIAC Working Agreement 2011-2013 and this new flight situation would not allow pilots to avail themselves of the allocated rest time, while rest periods before and after the flights are not defined by the operator and are not reflected on their rosters.

He further said that PIACL schedule has failed to keep in mind the effects of fatigue, compounding adverse effect on crew health and therefore safety of flight.

“The same is reflected in a number of captains' de-briefs. Majority of our crew are reluctant to accept these flights. However, those on contract are forced to carry out these duties under pressure in fear of losing their contracts,” Gondal stated.

“As a result of such policies, the backlog is tremendous. Our membership is suffering professional anxiety on account of being deprived of their legitimate expectancies. “Pilot productivity is at its lowest. The management is unwilling to reconsider its current modus operandi which is unworkable,” he added.