‘Thank You PIA’: Pak Airlines staff flies to Canada, leaves note and vanishes

A cabin crew member of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), who flew to Canada on Tuesday, went abruptly missing after landing, the second such case in 2024, reported The Dawn.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight(AP file photo)

According to the report, the crew member named Maryam Raza flew from Islamabad via PIA flight PK-782 and landed in Toronto on Tuesday, but didn’t report for duty on her return flight PK-784 to Karachi a day later.

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When the authorities started looking for Maryam, they opened her hotel room and found her PIA uniform along with a note reading ‘Thank you, PIA’. Maryam had been with the Pakistan’s national carrier for 15 years.

According to the airline’s spokesperson, the incident of Maryam’s disappearance comes a month after PIA flight crew member Faiza Mukhtar went abruptly missing in a similar way in January.

Mukhtar, who was rostered to fly back to Karachi a day after landing in Canada “did not board the flight and disappeared”.

Meanwhile, the officials attribute the trend of disappearing crew members to the accommodating nature of Canadian law, which allows for asylum applications after entry into the country.

According to the report, the trend of Pakistani flight attendants disappearing after crewing a flight to Canada started in 2019 and the number has increased recently.

Last year, at least seven PIA cabin crew members went missing in Canada while on duty.

Two PIA cabin crew members, who landed in Toronto from Lahore failed to report to duty for their flight back in December 2023, the PIA spokesperson said.

“The flight was on its scheduled return to Islamabad, the steward did not show up in Toronto. The flight of the national flag carrier had to return to Islamabad without the crew members,” the spokesperson said.

PIA crew members, Ayaz Qureshi, Khalid Afridi and Fida Hussain Shah reportedly stayed in Canada after landing in November and December 2023.

The spokesperson mentioned that one crew member who had absconded while on duty some years ago has since settled in Canada and offers advice to other crew members considering seeking asylum.

He further stated that PIA has been collaborating with Canadian authorities to prevent such incidents in the future.

(With inputs from The Dawn)

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