LAHORE - The passengers travelling to and from Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) Islamabad will undergo heavy suffering on Monday (today) due to the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to inaugurate some newly renovated facilities.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a notification that the PM would visit BBIAP Benazir Bhutto International Airport on May 18th during 10am to 12pm.

The CAA, therefore, readjusted the schedule of eight flights at the airport in order to “ensure smooth conduct of the occasion”, in sheer disregard of ordeals already faced by the poor passengers due to several VVIP movements.?

According to the notification, the eight flights scheduled to land/depart during 1030 hours to 1400 hours are to be rescheduled as under: Pk-785 that is to depart for London at 1045 am has been proposed to depart at 1015 am.

Similarly, flight number I6-104 from Karachi is scheduled to arrive at Islamabad at 1030 and to depart for Karachi at 1145 but it has been proposed to arrive at 1230 and depart at 1330. Flight number Pk-564/565 from Sukkur is scheduled to arrive at 1030 and depart for Sukkur at 1230 but it has been proposed to arrive at 1200 and depart at 1400.

The Pk-380/381 from Multan is scheduled to arrive at 1100 and depart at 1145 but it has been rescheduled to arrive at 1230 and depart at 1330. The Pk-352 that is scheduled to arrive at 11.15 from Quetta and depart at 1300 has been proposed to arrive at 1215.

Pk-363 scheduled to depart for Quetta at 1220 has been proposed to depart at 1420.

Flight number SV-726 is scheduled to arrive at 1130 from Jeddah and depart at 1330. But it has been rescheduled to arrive at 1230 and depart at 1430

Flight number Pk-211 is scheduled to leave for Dubai at 1420 but it has been rescheduled to depart at 1440. The notification stated that the flights scheduled to land at BBIAP Islamabad at or before 0900 hours with special reference to Pk-702 schedule ETA 0902 hours are to operate on approved timings.

“The airline operator is to ensure clearance of the flight including handling over of the baggage within one hour of the landing of the flight positively,” stated the notification, adding, that the flights scheduled to depart at or before 1030 hours may continue to operate on approved flight timings, and the airline operator is to ensure timely boarding of the passengers and departing of the aircraft on approved flight schedule positively.

This whole practice of the CAA would inflict heavy pains on the passengers including overseas Pakistanis. It is against the suggestions of The Grievance Commissioner Cell (GCC) of the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat with regards to improvements in the affairs of the national airline to facilitate overseas Pakistanis.

The top bureaucrats of the country present in the meeting held last month showed concerns over the regulatory, punctuality, and customer services (cabin crew, food, maintenance of toilets) of the national airline that create issues for overseas Pakistanis.

They stressed upon the regularity and punctuality of PIA international flights carrying overseas Pakistanis and improvement in the services, particularly the food, toilets and general upkeep of the aircraft.

The meeting also proposed that coordination meetings should be held at all international airports in Pakistan to promptly address the complaints of the overseas Pakistanis with particular reference to the misplaced/stolen luggage, creation of undue difficulties by the Customs/immigration staff.

But the rescheduling of flights carrying overseas Pakistanis by the CAA with regards to the inspection visit of the PM would surely result in a big fuss for overseas Pakistanis.