LAHORE  -  About 400 Haj pilgrims were left at the mercy of indifferent PIA staff without any food and water at Lahore airport after their plane met an incident at runway on Wednesday.

In another incident, an infant went faint after PIA’s Paris to Islamabad flight’s air conditioning system failed.

PIA Haj flight PK-257 from Lahore to Jeddah carrying 395 Haj pilgrims was about to take off when a bird hit it on runway and pilot applied emergency brakes causing damage to four tyres of the plane. After that a team of PIA engineers was summoned by airline management who started repair work on the spot. In the meanwhile, passengers of the plane were shifted to Haj Lounge where no PIA official was available to attend the pilgrims. Passengers protested against the airline staff’s attitude and chanted slogans against the management. After waiting for hours aged pilgrims were informed that some of them would be sent to Saudi Arabia through another flight.

Spokesman for the airline said that flight was delayed due to technical reasons on Wednesday afternoon.

The passengers of the flight were transported through another aircraft Boeing 777 late evening from Lahore airport. Due to smaller capacity aircraft with 300 seats, 80 passengers were adjusted on another flight which will depart on Thursday morning (today). The maintenance work on the aircraft Boeing 777 was commenced immediately and the aircraft will be operative by tomorrow, he added.

Separately, a video went viral on social media and different TV channels reported that on August 3 air-conditioning system of the flight PK-750 (Paris to Islamabad) went out of order before take-off at Paris airport. Due to which suffocation was felt inside the plane. An infant went faint due to poor condition of oxygen inside the plane. Mother of the child was shown seeking help in restless condition but no PIA cabin crew was ready to help her out. Despite her repeated requests crew members remained unmoved and ultimately infant went faint in the flight.

Spokesman for national aircraft carrier said that there was a delay of 30 minutes. The aircraft doors were closed, and it was ready for push back, however clearance from Air Traffic Control was not given and hence the aircraft engines could not be started as it was still parked at the jetty. Also the doors could not be opened as it would have been a severe safety violation.

According to preliminary investigations, the inconvenience to infant could be avoided by shifting him to other portion of the aircraft. The aircraft flew back to Islamabad with the satisfaction of the passengers. The spokesperson said that as the issue was resolved and probably due to this the matter was not reported which however, is being investigated too.

The PIA spokesman further said that on the matter of inconvenience caused to passengers, PIA CEO Musharraf Rasool Cyan had ordered detailed inquiry into the matter. PIA was in touch with the family which traveled on this flight. Explanation notices had been given to the captain in command, ground handler at Paris airport and the airline’s chief operating officer.