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PIA flight operations suspended indefinitely as strike enters second day


KARACHI:(APS)FEB 3,2016- All domestic and international flights of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were cancelled on Wednesday, airport officials said, as the strike resulting from employees’ protest against the national carrier’s proposed privatisation entered its second day.

PIA employees resumed their protest outside major airports across the country, which came as the federal government invoked the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1952, in the PIA for six months.

PIA representatives at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport and Peshawar’s Bacha Khan International Airport confirmed that all domestic and international flights scheduled for today have been cancelled.

All PIA flights have been suspended indefinitely,” said a PIA inquiry representative at Lahore airport.

He said two PIA flights from London and Milan landed at Lahore airport on Wednesday morning, although services of “employees of a private company” were used to handle the arriving flights.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman Pervez George told media that the authority has requested private carrier Airblue to schedule additional flights between major cities to accommodate passengers after cancellation of PIA flights.

Meanwhile, PIA Joint Action Committee (JAC) spokesman Nasrullah Khan said employees had resumed protest outside all major airports in the country and there has been no change in their demands.

PIA employees’ four-point agenda:

Government should immediately take back the bill passed on January 21 converting the national flag carrier into a public limited company.

PIA’s employees be provided a chance to reform the airline. If the employees fail to do so, the government will have the freedom to do whatever it finds suitable.

Privatisation, in any form, whether it is in form of a strategic partner or selling of 36 per cent or 1pc of the organisation’s shares, is not acceptable to the employees.

Government should immediately review the aviation policy and form a committee for this purpose comprising members from PIA employees’ JAC along with PIA experts Khursheed Anwar, Kamran Hasan and Salahuddin.

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