News / Asia

Pakistan's National Airline Deals with Passenger Backlog After Ash Cloud Delays

Multimedia

Audio
Sean Maroney

Officials with Pakistan's national airline, PIA, say they are working to overcome a backlog of thousands of passengers delayed since a cloud of volcanic ash closed much of the airspace across Europe.

Manzoor Hussain is among the hundreds of passengers who were able to leave on the first Pakistan International Airlines flight to the United Kingdom since Iceland's volcanic eruption last week. He spoke to reporters at the airport in Pakistan's southern coastal city of Karachi before his flight late Wednesday.

"I was stuck in Pakistan for the past five or six days. It's been very problematic for me because of work and family, and it's made loads of disruptions to our schedule," Hussain said.

His family was in Pakistan for a wedding two weeks ago. They were supposed to leave Sunday, but were unable due to flight delays. PIA's spokesman Sultan Hassan tells VOA that the Hussains are among the up to 17,000 travelers backlogged on PIA flights, which frequently run through European airspace. He says the recent shutdown of commercial aviation is worse than the shutdown following the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

"I think this was a worse scenario. I don't think such a standstill we have experienced before," Hussain adds.  

He says that during the recent crisis, PIA provided all it could for passengers en route to their destinations, including providing accommodations for passengers stranded in Paris.

"All these passengers, around 320, were for New York. Seventy were senior citizens, and there were about 16 infants," Hassan said. "And for these infants we really had to even provide diapers and milk."  

Hassan says PIA now is doing everything it can to increase its number of flights and accommodate more passengers. But he says nothing can be done for the perishable goods meant for transport on PIA flights that have been lost after sitting in storage in Karachi. Hassan estimates that during the crisis, PIA suffered $2 million a day in losses.

Ashfaq Ahmad is an economist and former advisor to Pakistan's Finance Ministry. He tells VOA that the natural disaster could not have happened at a worse time for Pakistan. Ahmad says that due to high oil prices and overstaffing, PIA already has been receiving assistance from the government. He says the Pakistani government most likely will pay for PIA's recent losses.

"PIA is now dependent totally on the Ministry of Finance to keep this airline floating," said Ahmad. "If they don't get injections or oxygen from the Ministry of Finance, then this patient would die."

And for passengers, such as Manzoor Hussain and his family, the situation has cost them time they can never get back.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs