Bradford families angry at delays after Leeds-Bradford PIA flight is diverted to Manchester

A Pakistan International flight

A Pakistan International flight

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Chief Reporter

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

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

They drove the 60 miles to Manchester only to have to return to the Yeadon airport several hours later when the plane flew 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 (PIA) flight from Islamabad. He said the incident was the latest in a series of frustrations Bradford people have experienced with the company.

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

“It was a real nightmare,” he said.

He said his relatives who had been travelling for close to 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.

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

“Everybody I speak to is really frustrated by this airline in Bradford. There needs to be a meeting about this so we highlight this issue with senior Pakistani officials in London to say this is inexcusable and cannot continue.”

Mohammed Ilyas also arrived at the airport 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 LBA to collect my grandmother at 2am. During this time there was no food or refreshments provided 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 concerned authorities. However, when the winds became favourable in the considered opinion of the captain, the plane took off ex-Manchester and onwards to LBA,” he said.

He said the diversion was being investigated.

“As per local laws, the flight has to return back to its planned destination and no permission was granted for disembarkation of passengers at Manchester by the relevant authorities,” he said.

He added that the crew “tried to take maximum care of passengers”.

“We do regret the delay and inconvenience caused to our valued customers but some times the situation gets beyond human control. We once again apologise to our valued customers and assure them of better service in future,” he said.

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