TELEGRAPH (UK) – A pilot from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan’s national carrier, is being investigated for potentially putting the lives of more than 305 passengers at risk by allegedly allowing a trainee pilot to fly the aircraft soon after take-off while he reportedly took a nap in a passenger seat last month, according to a passenger on board the flight.
Captain Amir Akhtar Hashmi was reported to be operating London-bound flight PK-785 from Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, on April 26 along with first officer pilot Ali Hassan Yazdani, and another first officer – Mohammad Asad Ali – who was being trained by Mr Hashmi, according to Dawn, the Pakistani daily newspaper.
During the flight, Mr Hashmi allegedly left Mr Ali in control of the plane while Mr Yazdani was in the observer’s seat of the cockpit. The captain reportedly then went over to a business class seat where he put a blanket over himself and went to sleep.
Mr Hashmi has denied that he slept during the flight: “It is a wrong allegation that I took a two-and-a-half hour sleep during the flight. I did not sleep during the said flight,” he told the Press Trust of India (PTI)news agency.
The captain also claimed that it is normal practice for a pilot to take naps during long flights in the presence of co-pilots, according to PTI.
The incident allegedly would have gone unnoticed had it not caught the attention of a flier who saw Mr Hashmi sleeping in a passenger’s seat in full uniform. After realising who Mr Hashmi was, the concerned passenger was said to have made a complaint and a senior air hostess was reportedly forced to make note of the incident in her flight log.