Mistake by PIA crew leads to offloading of 50 passengers at Beijing airport

KARACHI: In less than a month, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has faced a second incident, this time at Beijing airport, when the emergency chute of its Boeing 777 was activated, forcing the airline to offload 50 passengers aboard that section of the flight.

In the first incident that took place earlier this month at Manchester airport, a passenger had mistakenly activated the emergency exit door of an aircraft, resulting in offloading of over three dozen passengers and a delay of seven hours in departure to Islamabad.

The latest incident took place when the PIA flight (PK-853) for Tokyo-Beijing-Islamabad sector was parked at Beijing airport and “at the time of loading of in-flight meals the emergency slide got activated”, said a spokesman for the PIA on Friday.

“This incident caused a delay of nearly three hours in departure,” he said, adding that the PIA considered safety as its foremost priority and as per standard operating procedure it had to offload nearly 50 passengers joining from Beijing along with their luggage.

He said the offloaded passengers were informed about the cause of the delay and provided hotel accommodation. “These passengers will be adjusted on the next available flight to Pakistan,” he added.

The top management of the national flag carrier took strict notice of the incident. PIA chief executive Air Marshal Arshad Malik ordered an inquiry and also suspended the cabin crew responsible for the incident.

The spokesman said the probe would be completed by July 1 and a strict disciplinary action would be taken against those found guilty as per rules.

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