This is reference to the video of a Chinese female passenger entering cockpit of PIA B777 during flight PK853 flight from Toyko to Beijing after which PIA spokesman stated that the pilot has discretion to allow passengers into cockpit during flight. Why do such incidences of gross indiscipline not occur on private Pakistani registered airlines or on Emirates, Etihad etc? The answer is zero tolerance for indiscipline and following ICAO rules, airline policy and active oversight by local civil aviation regulatory body.

Since January this year, three such incidences have occurred on PIA flights ranging from illegal criminal offence of carrying extra passengers on Karachi to Medina flight to an irresponsible captain choosing to leave the aircraft in control of under-check co-pilot while he slept in Business Class for over two and half hours. What if an emergency were to occur when the Captain was dozing off? This incidence where a lady passenger sat in the cockpit on an international flight just adds to the aforementioned. In all these incidences, the pilots involved have a history of indiscipline which has gone unchecked because of their political clout and nepotism in recruitment.

PIA’s has gone from its days of glory under Rafique Saigol and Nur Khan to its present dismal state since 2007. Since then semi-literate political cronies, with personal files full of gross irregularities that should have resulted in their sacking, have been appointed as MD and CEO with astronomical rise in losses and pilferage.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, FAA has imposed stringent restrictions on airlines making it mandatory to install expensive armoured doors in cockpits to prevent any intrusion and withstand small explosions. Individual airlines have a policy allowing off-duty crew, non-revenue staff, serving and retired licensed airline employees familiar with emergency procedures possessing security clearance, into the cockpit. Few airlines give captains the discretion to allow curious passengers to view cockpit on ground but never in the air. FAA and ICAO require cockpit door to be locked throughout flight with access to cabin crew who has to put a code on digital lock with a specific password on intercom after which pilot will allow entry. It is time for CAA to wake up and take note of PIA which faced sanctions for safety violations in 2007 and presently downgraded, by subjecting it to random inspections.

ANEELA CHANDIO,

Sukkur, May 10.