LAHORE: A London-bound PIA flight got late for more than three hours on Saturday night when the pilot refused to fly after a physical brawl with a steward whom he suspected as a smuggler.
The situation also brought embarrassment to the PIA administration as footage of the untoward incident followed by the protest of the passengers was run by the electronic media.
According to a source, flight PK-757 Lahore-London was ready for departure at 9pm when suddenly pilot Anwaar Chaudhry asked the other crew members to make steward Awais Qureshi, whom he called a notorious smuggler, leave the aircraft.
Mr Anwaar claimed that in the past Mr Qureshi remained involved in incidents of smuggling during flight duty bringing bad name to the airline.
A brawl took place between the two, attracting attention of the other crew members who supported the pilot.
As a result, the source said, the flight got delayed for three hours, sparking agitation from the passengers who stood up and raised slogans against the PIA management.
The source said the matter was brought to the knowledge of the high-ups who intervened to resolve the issue. The flight later departed at around midnight, the source said. The PIA spokesperson confirmed the incident, saying an inquiry had been launched to ascertain facts.
However, he attributed the flight delay to the late arrival of flight PK-710 from Manchester.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2018