Pakistan International Airlines denies passenger overloading report

The cash-strapped Pakistan International Airlines has dismissed the news report as 'exaggerated and baseless'. (Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons) Photograph:( Others )

AFP Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan Feb 26, 2017, 01.19 PM (IST)

Pakistan's national carrier will probe into allegations made by a news report that one of the international flights was carrying extra passengers.

A Dawn report had reported that a January 20 Pakistan International Airlines flight from Karachi to Saudi Arabia was carrying 416 passengers, instead of the stipulated 409.

The report further said seven people were asked to stand in the aisle during the three-hour journey.

But the cash-strapped national carrier has dismissed the claims as "exaggerated and baseless".

"It is not possible for anyone to travel like that in an aircraft, regardless of the duration of the flight," PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani said.

But he said: "The matter pertaining to the travel of more passengers than the booked under investigation," and the airline had ordered a "thorough probe into it, and all concerned are being questioned".

"PIA is committed to ensure the safety of the passengers and cannot allow any incident to happen which compromises safety," he added.

It was the latest embarrassing incident for the airline, considered a global leader until the 1970s but plagued by controversies over recent years and saddled with billions of dollars of debt.

A PIA turboprop built by European manufacturer ATR plummeted into a mountain in a northern region on December 7, bursting into flames and killing all 47 people on board.

The airline was later mocked after its staff were photographed sacrificing a goat on a runway to ward off bad luck.

Domestic flights are often delayed for VIPs while flight employees have been caught smuggling goods ranging from iPhones to narcotics.

In 2013 one of its pilots was jailed for nine months in Britain for being drunk before he was due to fly from Leeds to Islamabad with 156 people on board.

(WION with inputs from AFP)