LAHORE One should call it a coincidence or over ambitiousness of PIA management that two Europe-bound flights of the national flag carrier landed at Istanbul Airport (a most controversial destination among PIA employees nowadays) on Friday to what the PIA spokesman termed a 'technical landing. The flights took off from Lahore and Islamabad and were bound for Glasgow and Leeds respectively but both the flights had to land at Istanbul, said sources in the PIA on Sunday. They said since PIA was going to sign an agreement with Turkish airline for route sharing on European destinations which was being opposed by PIA employees associations and general public, it might be the plan of the management to check the reaction of the passengers and office-bearers of the associations. It bears mentioning here that as per the agreement all the passengers of European destinations would be transported to Istanbul by PIA and further these passengers would be sent by Turkish airline. But all the associations of PIA employees including Pakistan Airline Pilots Associations (PALPA), Society of Aircraft Engineers Pakistan (SEAP), Senior Staff Association (SSA), Aircraft Technician Association Pakistan (ATAP), Flight Engineers Association (FENA) and others were opposing the decision. They were taking out rallies and staging protest demonstrations in this regard. An aviation expert said if PIA succeeded in signing the MoU with Turkish airline it would be beneficial for Istanbul while would cause a loss to the PIA. Because to reach Europe via Istanbul, the plane would have to fly extra with more fuel burn and secondly, it would have to use the Iranian airspace which is costlier than Russian airspace. He said after the imposition of sanctions by the US on Iran, the latter has increased its over flying charges from different airlines ranging between US$ 5,000 to 6,000 per flight more than that of the flight which would fly for Europe via Russian space. Different associations of PIA employees have formed a Joint Action Committee against the decision of management which will meet on Monday (today) at Karachi and would chalk out the future strategy. Angry office-bearers of the JAC were of the view that present Managing Director could do nothing for the airline for the last two and a half years. They were of the view that as per the statistics issued by the management, the airline was facing Rs1.5 billion loss whereas in fact this loss was more than Rs2 billion.