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Pakistan's National Airline on Strike, Flights Grounded

7 years ago378 views

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Pakistan's national airline has grounded dozens of flights because of an ongoing strike over a proposed deal with Turkish Airlines. The protesters are also demanding the sacking of the airline's managing director.

Pakistan's national airline was struggling on Thursday (February 10) after pilots, crews and ground staff were on strike for a third straight day.

The employees of Pakistan International Airlines, or PIA, are protesting against a proposal to share lucrative routes with Turkish Airlines.

The PIA strikers also want to sack the group's managing director and a pilot who is a close friend of embattled Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

[Nehl Awan, PIA Flight Purser]:
"Our strike continues, and it will continue until the managing director goes. Our strike will end when this managing director resigns."

The strikers are also asking for the re-instatement of pilots and other staff who were suspended recently.

Under the proposed deal with Turkish Airlines, which is yet to be approved by the government and regulators, PIA would relinquish some of its lucrative European and U.S. routes.

According to a joint action committee of PIA employees, handing over these profitable routes will deprive the national airline of billions of rupees in revenue.

[Mohammad Yahya Zafar, PIA Employee]:
"There is unrest among all the employees. The Turkish airline deal is worrisome for our jobs and our future. All the employees are protesting."

PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar says 33 domestic and international flights were cancelled on Thursday. About 100 have been cancelled since the strike began on Tuesday.

Dozens of other flights were delayed, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at airports around the country.