they took him from the hotel as if he was arrested
A Pakistani pilot is being treated like a “criminal” by police after catching COVID-19.
The pilot had captained a flight from Canada to Pakistan.
On April 12, 2020, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots’ Association (PALPA) confirmed that the pilot tested positive for the virus, stating that it’s advice for precautionary measures went ignored, saying that its suggestions were made specifically to avoid such an incident from taking place.
After landing in Pakistan, the pilot was tested and it confirmed that he had COVID-19.
In Pakistan, there have been over 5,300 confirmed cases and 93 fatalities.
According to the captains’ association, police treated the Pakistani pilot like a criminal as they took him from the hotel as if he was arrested for a crime.
On April 7, the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) released a statement, confirming that six employees had contracted the virus.
This includes a pilot, two cabin crew members and an aircraft technician.
While they confirmed the positive cases, PIA did not say how and when this happened.
A spokesperson had said that all pilots and crew members had been working while using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
PALPA and PIA have been clashing with each other over pilots’ safety as well as failure to stick to protocol.
PIA had previously alleged that the Sindh health department insisted on forcefully quarantining the pilots despite instructions.
It was reported that the dispute stemmed after a PIA flight crew was detained in Karachi, with PALPA claiming that safety had been compromised and that COVID-19 procedures were ignored.
PALPA President Chaudhry Salman 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 went on to say that PIA was violating its own rules by convincing pilots to perform duties for over 24 hours.
The pilots’ association had approached the Prime Minister’s office, which told PALPA to consult with the PIA chief operating officer.
PALPA also met with Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who advised the association to talk to the civil aviation secretary.
Aviation Secretary Hassan Nasir Jamy had later assured representatives of the pilots’ body and PIA of full support, as well as readiness towards taking measures to ensure aircrew’s safety.
This comes after he was apprised of PALPA’s “apprehensions pertaining to the safety measures being taken regarding airline operations in the wake of COVID-19”.
It had been recognised during the meeting that the airlines were responsible to provide appropriate PPEs to the cockpit and cabin crew “with immediate effect”, that flights would only operate “upon satisfaction of the captain”, and that the airlines would “not be held responsible”.