Air traffic controllers’ protest costing PIA millions of rupees

PIAKARACHI: A total of 61 domestic and 18 international flights of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) scheduled to arrive across the country on Tuesday are facing plausible delays due to a protest campaign by air traffic controllers.

The protest is to result in a loss of about Rs 700 million a week to the national airlines, which is already in a loss of Rs 2 billion, while it would also make other international airlines avoid coming to Pakistan due of safety hazards.Per details, more than 250 operational air traffic controllers of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) all over the country went on “Go by the book” campaign on Friday and stopped going the extra mile to accommodate traffic for short cuts and expedite landings and take-offs on 23 domestic stations of the country. Resultantly on Tuesday, total 79 domestic and international flights of PIA faced delays, while international flights of other airlines and domestic operations of Airblue and Shaheen Air also got affected.

Due to the campaign of air traffic controllers, flights from Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Middle Eastern airlines suffered a loss of some 17,920 nautical miles per week in terms of track shortening and only Karachi airport is to lose around 500 nautical miles a week.Industry experts said that a 747 plane consumed 20kgs of fuel per nautical mile and the price of that fuel was about $22, while a 737 plane consumes nine kgs, priced $9. Resultantly, total loss on the non-saving of some 17,929 nautical miles a week is around Rs 700 million, which is a fatal blow to the already broke national airlines.

Besides, the action has resulted in a delay in flights all across Pakistan, causing inconvenience to passengers and millions of rupees of extra fuel being burnt by the airlines.PIA’s total international flights affected on Tuesday at Karachi airport were five, two at Lahore, five in Islamabad, five in Peshawar and one in Quetta.On the domestic front, total arrivals of PIA flights that got affected included 18 flights at Karachi, 16 at Lahore, 15 at Islamabad, two at Peshawar, four at Quetta, two at Faisalabad and four at the Multan airport. – PT