PIA abolishes protocols for govt officers

Muhammad Asghar

RAWALPINDI: In order to put an end to the VIP culture, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) scrapped all protocols and extraordinary arrangements for government and non-government officials across the country.

This was done on the directive of the airlines’ president Air Marshal Arshad Malik who asked the PIA to follow the regular procedure at all level.

The president and chief executive officer of the national flag-carrier will also not be able to enjoy protocol and extraordinary arrangements.

The PIA also launched an austerity campaign and withdrew staff reserved for facilitating the cabin crew members and redeployed them on their normal duties at airports across Pakistan.

According to sources, the PIA management put an end to the special treatment being provided to its pilots and cabin crew.

The facilitating staff has been withdrawn leaving the airlines’ crew members to handle their baggage on their own.

The staff has been redeployed on normal duties, including wheelchair handling. In addition, the cabin crew rooms have also been abolished.

The airlines claimed that the move was part of ongoing reforms and austerity steps and to improve service delivery.

The PIA was providing loaders to the cabin and cockpit crew at the time of boarding and disembarking for carrying their luggage. The loaders were provided extra allowances for the special duties.

The airline management had to provide a separate room for loaders with a telephone facility at each airport where at least three to four loaders remained on an alert and had to carry the baggage of crew members, including pilots, stewards and airhostesses.

“Sometimes the loaders also got tips from crew members for carrying their baggage to and from the airplane,” a senior official of the airlines said, adding this facility had continued for about 30 to 40 years.

None of the other airlines was offering such a facility to their crew members.

A PIA spokesman said the loaders had been redeployed for facilitating passengers, especially those with special needs. The redeployed staff will help passengers using wheelchairs during arrival and departure.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

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