Anger at seven-hour wait on aircraft

First published in Local news
Last updated
Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

Families are demanding answers from an airline that left passengers on a stationary plane for hours without food and drink.

People who went to collect relatives from Leeds-Bradford Airport on the evening of last Saturday, February, 1 were told the plane had landed in Manchester due to high winds.

They drove to Manchester, only to have to return to Yeadon several hours later when the plane went back to its original destination.

In the meantime, passengers were left on the plane on the runway without refreshments or explanation, families say.

Councillor Ishtiaq Ahmed’s parents and 90-year-old grandmother were on the Pakistan International Airline Islamabad flight.

He said the incident was the latest in a series of frustrations people had experienced with the company.

The independent Manningham councillor said his grandmother, who has Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and a heart problem, had slept all the following day after finally being picked up at around 1.30am.

He said his relatives, who had been travelling for close on 20 hours, had only had one meal on the journey.

“I said ‘For God’s sake, at least let me get my grandmother off’,” Coun Ahmed said, adding that his parents will never use the company again.

The councillor said many people used PIA, as it was the only airline with a direct flight to Islamabad.

“The plane that comes into Yeadon is late probably seven out of ten times,” said Coun Ahmed.

“Everybody I speak to is really frustrated by this airline. There needs to be a meeting so we can highlight this issue with senior Pakistani officials in London, to say this is inexcusable.”

Mohammed Ilyas also arrived at Yeadon to pick up his 84-year-old grandmother on Saturday and has written to PIA.

The 22-year-old said: “After waiting almost six hours at Manchester Airport I finally came back to Leeds Bradford to collect my grandmother at 2am. During this time there was no food or refreshments, as she had to wait an extra seven hours inside the plane.”

Mr Ilyas said he was told passengers could not disembark at Manchester because of a disagreement between the captain and PIA luggage handlers, but PIA said it had no report of a row.

A spokesman for PIA said the captain of the PK775 flight diverted because of bad weather.

“We also tried to transport the passengers through surface transport but again it was not advised by the authorities. However, when the winds became favourable the plane took off from Manchester and onwards to Leeds Bradford.

“As per local laws, the flight has to return back to its planned destination and no permission was granted for disembarkation at Manchester.

“We do regret the delay and inconvenience caused to our valued customers but sometimes the situation gets beyond human control.”

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