**Update: 07/09/2020 @ 12:10 UTC – Simple Flying received a statement from a PIA spokesperson; details below**
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight attendant was reported missing this week after arriving in Canada on a flight from Islamabad on Monday. The flight attendant, known only by his first name ‘Yasir’, disappeared from the hotel where the crew was spending their layover. The reason for his mysterious disappearance is unknown, but some reports claim he wants to seek asylum.
Local media in Pakistan reported on Tuesday that a flight attendant had disappeared after arriving in Toronto. The flight attendant was part of the crew on PIA flight PK-781 that arrived in Toronto on Monday from Islamabad.
After clearing immigration at the airport in Toronto, the crew reached the hotel from where the flight attendant disappeared.
PIA’s station manager has informed the Canadian authorities that Yasir is missing. The administration of the national carrier has said that they will take action against the flight attendant, and they have launched an investigation.
Simple Flying reached out to PIA for comment. The spokesperson for PIA, Abdullah Khan, said, “The crew was found missing at the time of departure. He was called up to which he said that he has gone to Calgary on a family emergency. PIA station manager reported the matter to the Canadian Border Services Agency. PIA as per policy would wait for next flight after which disciplinary proceedings will be initiated against the said crew.”
Not the first time
Yasir is not the first PIA crew member to disappear. In 2018 a PIA flight attendant failed to report for her return flight home, which, coincidentally, was also in Toronto. The flight attendant, Fareeha Mukhtar, boarded PIA flight PK-789 from Lahore and never returned to Pakistan.
Reports claimed that she sought asylum in Canada. She was later traced in Toronto, where she was staying with a former flight attendant Mahira, who had also disappeared in Canada two years prior.
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Interestingly, Fareeha was suspended from service in 2015 over smuggling allegations. At the time of her disappearance, she was banned from all international flights because she was caught smuggling currency and phones to other countries. PIA was fined $8,000 after the incident, and an inquiry was carried out against the national carrier.
In a more recent incident, PIA flight attendant Shazia Saeed disappeared during a layover in Paris in 2019. She slipped away from the hotel where the crew was staying after arriving on PIA flight PK-734 from Sialkot on April 6th.
Not a good time for PIA
This latest scandal comes after a difficult few months for Pakistan’s national carrier. A PIA A320 crashed in Karachi on May 22nd, killing all but two on board. The preliminary report on the investigation into the devastating crash has suggested that pilot error may be to blame for the accident.
PIA has also been involved in an ongoing scandal regarding pilot and crew qualifications. Pakistan’s aviation authorities have been probing allegations of fake qualifications in the country since 2018. This has resulted in PIA dismissing several crew members due to license fraud. Most recently, we reported that PIA suspended 150 pilots over allegations that their licenses to fly were fake.
The fallout from the pilot scandal has led many to question the airline’s safety record. Just last week, the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) suspended PIA’s authorization for operating in Europe for six months.
What do you think of the latest scandal to rock PIA? Can PIA salvage its reputation? Let us know in the comments.