The Aviation Division and the Pakistan Air Line Pilots’ Association (Palpa) have reached a total understanding to resolve differences which have persisted for more than a week, a spokesman for the government and the head of the pilots’ body announced on Thursday.
According to Aviation Division spokesman Sher Ali and Palpa President Capt Amir Hashmi, the government and Palpa have resolved to address all the issues pertaining to the service matters of PIA pilots.
‘’We have assured Palpa that all of their problems will be resolved as early as possible,” the Aviation Division spokesperson said in his opening remarks. “All issues raised by Palpa will be discussed with the PIA chairman and will be amicably resolved,” he told reporters, assuring pilots that none of them would be ‘victimised’.
The Palpa president, meanwhile, said the pilots’ representative body has withdrawn an email against senior Civil Aviation Authority officials it sent to the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Association (IFALPA).
Palpa leaders lauded the role and contribution of Shujaat Azeem, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aviation and Naseer Azeem, chairman of PIA. They also appreciated their role for the overall uplift and reconstruction of PIA with particular reference to adding new aircraft to the fleet
Capt Amir told a questioner that he and his colleagues were satisfied with the outcome of their negotiations with the government. However, Hashmi made it clear that Palpa has not so far signed an agreement with the Aviation Division and PIA.
He was of the view that the age of retirement for pilots should be increased to 65 years from the existing 60 years. The spokesman could not offer a proper reply when he was asked by a journalist as to when the outstanding dues of the pilots would be cleared. ‘’ All such problems are under discussion in the PIA head office in Karachi and it would be made public once those issues are resolved,” he remarked.
To another question, Palpa president categorically opposed any attempt to privatise PIA.
Capt Amir also stressed that Palpa is an ‘association of professionals, not a union’ and as such, its protest should not be seen as a strike. “We shouldn’t be seen as blackmailers. It is our right to fight for better service conditions for pilots,” he said.
The Palpa president also disclosed that a few elements with vested interests were hindering an agreement between his body, the Aviation Division and PIA. He refused to name those elements but said they have been defeated by his colleagues.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2015.