KARACHI: Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has warned the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Serene Air, Air Blue, and AirSial to initiate regulatory action in case of domestic flight cancellation for commercial reasons.
The director of air transport, PCAA has issued notices to the PIA, Serene Air, Air Blue, and AirSial over domestic flights cancellation on commercial reasons, warning the flight operators to initiate regulatory action against them if such practice was not averted.
The action was taken on the immense number of complaints on the cancellation of flights from the passengers. According to the flight cancellation data shared by the PCAA, out of 1145 flights, some 383 flights were cancelled only in the first 18 days of the current month (October).
The PIA has cancelled 130 scheduled flights out of 417 flights during the aforesaid period. Similarly, Serene Air, Air Blue, and AirSial have cancelled 117, 86, and 50 flights, respectively from October 1 to October 18, 2021.
In line with Article D13 of Air Navigation Order - Air Passenger Rights (ANO-001-ATCP-2.0), the airline has to accommodate the affected passengers on its own alternative (earlier/later) flights or other airlines' flights (subject to seat availability), as per the convenience of affected passengers. However, if the available alternative transport options are not feasible for the passengers, then a full ticket refund shall be made to the passenger at the earliest.
In addition, the passenger shall be appropriately compensated in line with Rule 22(1) of the fifth schedule of carriage by Air Act, 2021 in case of flight cancellation due to insufficient passengers.
Rule 22(1) says: "The carrier is liable for damage occasioned by delay in the carriage by air of passengers, baggage or cargo to the extent of the amount of any such damage which may be proved to have been sustained by reason of such delay or of an amount representing double the sum paid for the carriage, whichever amount may be smaller."
The PCAA has also advised the flight operators to minimise the number of flight cancellations and the same due to insufficient passenger load or any other commercial reason should be eliminated and urged to ensure strict compliance to avoid regulatory action.
Keeping the said issue in view, PCAA has clarified its code of conduct on the cancellation of scheduled flights. No permission for International and Chartered flights will be given without the submission of the affidavit and the flight operators have to ensure punctual regular scheduled domestic flights with a 90 and 80 percent ratio. Furthermore, the flight operators have to take permission from PCAA for flight cancellation on the technical ground or in any untoward situation.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021