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PIA allowed 7 passengers to stand in aisles through entire flight, probe order

A Pakistan International Airlines flight, last month, from Karachi to Saudi Arabia’s Madina carried seven extra passengers who were made to stand in aisles, prompting a probe into the serious breach of security regulations by Pakistan’s loss-making national carrier, according to media reports.

A Boeing 777 aircraft has a seating capacity of 409, including jump seats for staff, while flight PK-743 carried 416 passengers from Karachi to Madina. The seven passengers, aboard the three-hour long PIA flight PK-743 on January 20, were forced to stand after the airline boarded excess passengers, Dawn newspaper reported.

The PIA management appears to have taken this lightly as no action has been taken against those responsible for the incident, the paper said.

PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani said the matter was being investigated. Mr Gilani told the BBC that an internal investigation has been initiated “and appropriate action will be taken once responsibility is fixed”.

If someone was found responsible for any wrongdoing, the PIA would take stern action against them under the company rules, he said.

The report said allowing seven passengers to travel by standing all the way to the destination constituted a serious air safety breach as in the case of an emergency, passengers without seats would not have access to oxygen. It could also cause congestion in case of an emergency evacuation.

The boarding passes issued to the extra passengers were hand-written and not computer-generated, sources said. The computer-generated list, provided to the aircraft crew by the ground traffic staff, did not mention the details of the seven extra passengers, the report said.

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