Senior PIA pilot in trouble for pointing 'safety hazard
RE - A committee of experts is meeting this week to ascertain the fate of a senior Boeing 777 captain who pointed out a potential safety hazard that his co-pilot undertook a flight making his duty time 17 hours long. This exercise is not only a violation of international norms but also of PIAs own Flight Safety Rules, the sources in the airline claimed.
According to the communications (in possession of this scribe) between the flight captain and Flight Operation Directorate, on May 12 the co-pilot of PK 751, Capt Salman Azhar, who also holds the position of General Manager Corporate Safety and Quality Assurance, had spent around 17 hours on duty against the safety norms and international regulations.
He reached Lahore from Karachi on the same day on PK 304 flight to operate a PK 751 flight from Lahore to Oslo while he was already at the office in Karachi since 9 am.
It is pertinent to note that pilots holding management posts are called Management Executive Pilots and are allowed a guaranteed payment of 90 hours. The rules applied to the subject case are governed by Air Crew Duty Time Limitations of which section 23.4 of Chapter 3 states: Management Executive Pilots will not be scheduled on weekdays.
If due to operational exigencies, executive pilots are scheduled on week days, the time spent during office will be accounted for the flight duty time limitations. and the maximum scheduled flight duty time for a single set crew (two men cockpit) is 10 hours.
One should also keep in mind the fact that the office timing of PIA starts from 8:30 am. And the flight PK 751 departed 4 hours late from its scheduled time of 1:30 pm and the duty for the said journey finished at 1920Z i-e 1:30 am PST.
Interestingly, in a letter written to the management, Capt Salman Azhar rejects the claim made by the senior captain saying that his flight duty was only 10 hours and 55 minutes long. But he forgot to take into account that it was Tuesday and he not only attended the office but also took the flight to Lahore, which according to rules is taken as a flight duty, thus making the same to almost 17 hours.
In this regard, an office bearer of PALPA claims that after opting for a 'Go Slow, its members are being victimised and one of their peers has also been expelled from services.
But the PIA management is of the view that the pilot-in-command operating the flight, which he declared as a potential flight safety hazard had violated the rules and regulations for compromising the safety of PK 751 for flying the plane with a team member about whom he had reservations.
However, the spokesman of the airline said as he was not aware of the incident, he could not make any comment.