Earlier today, a Karachi-bound PIA flight landed in Muscat, Oman and caused quite a stir in the news and social media circuit. Families of those on board were frantic because of the latest PK 661 crash, many were legitimate for their concerns.
@Official_PIA my dad messaged at 5:30 am that he is on the flight and we havent heard from him since, we have been frantic with worry
— Atiya Abbas (@AtiyaAbbas) December 23, 2016
Many publications along with media outlets decided to use this opportunity to take a jab at the national carrier, calling this yet another episode of gross neglect. While the lack of miscommunication can be attributed to inefficiency on the part of Civil Aviation Authority that is responsible for this, the diversion of flights is a norm for every airline in case of technical or weather conditions.
Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey, a passenger of the said PIA flight, shared his two cents on the matter. A screenshot of this status was shared on Shehzad Ghias Sheikh’s public fan page.
In the status, Mr. Panjwaneey writes,
“The flight took off at 5:30 am, we circled Karachi at least 8 times around 7 am. The pilot announced that the runway to land was not visible, I looked out of the window myself – I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes seeing Karachi in so much fog at that hour and could only see most of Clifton; everything else was white.
The pilot announced that visibility was low and in order to refuel, the closest airport with a large enough facility (landing & re-fueling Boeing 777) to do so was Muscat so we diverted there.”
Explaining the situation further, Mr. Panjwaneey shares how they landed in Muscat and waited for the weather to clear up, eventually taking off for Karachi.
“Yes, it was difficult being on that plane for so long but I am genuinely grateful for the safety steps taken by the pilot to get us all home safe. Pilots go through rigorous training and hours for a reason, this is a prime example of genuine concern for human life”
MangoBaaz reached out to Mr. Shahzad M. Paracha, the Country Manager for PIA in Oman for some more insight regarding this diversion. Mr. Paracha was able to corroborate the story and offer some clarity:
“Muscat is the alternate and the closest airport to Karachi for re-routing because of its geographical location. In the case of any emergency situation or unfavorable landing conditions, we are required to divert flights to Muscat as it is a fully-equipped International airport to be used by all airlines flying to Karachi.”
So, there you have it, folks. Just some standard emergency protocol and absolutely nothing to rage over.
Let us instead focus our energy toward applauding the PIA trained pilot for not only his timely action but for offering constant updates and reassurances to those on board. Great people to fly with, indeed.