About 1,000 passengers were stranded at Lahore as flights delayed

The ills afflicting the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were on full display here on Saturday after two of its flights for Jeddah were delayed on ‘technical’ grounds while an engine of a plane returning from Saudi Arabia caught fire during landing at the Allama Iqbal Airport.
About 1,000 passengers were stranded at the Haj terminal for several hours.
Pilgrims, including women and the elderly, blamed the national flag-carrier for causing inconvenience and failing to transport them timely.
A few of them complained that the airline staff provided them meal only on request and some others complained that the seating arrangement and other facilities were inadequate.
A pilgrim told Dawn by phone that flight PK-1357, which was to depart at 4:15pm, was delayed till Sunday afternoon because of non-availability of aircraft.
He said the whole day was a torment for his family because they reached Haji Camp at 8am, but after waiting for 11 hours in the lounge were asked to stay at a hotel indefinitely.
Another pilgrim, Mohammad Amjad of PK-1357, said pilgrims were exhausted owing to the long wait and poor facilities.
He said the passengers were first told that the flight would take off in two hours, but were later told that it was delayed for an unspecified period.
A PIA spokesman, Athar Khan, said two flights had been delayed because of technical faults.
He said that flight PK-1257, which was to fly to Jeddah at 3:30pm, and PK-1357, which was to depart at 4:15pm, developed technical faults after their arrival from Saudi Arabia.
He said that passengers of PK-1257 were staying at the airport and would be sent anytime while pilgrims of PK-1357 had been shifted to a hotel temporarily.
He said that technical staff was repairing the PK-1257 plane while a special team from Karachi had come to repair the PK-1357 aircraft.
FIRE: The engine of a PIA plane engaged in Haj operation reportedly caught fire while landing at the Allama Iqbal Airport.
A spokesman for the national carrier, however, claimed there was no fire.
A source at the airport said that the captain of Boeing 747 (flight number PK-1458) saw smoke after a ‘light’ fire in the engine number four while landing, but the crew managed to overcome it by using emergency fire-fighting system.
The source said the flight reached Lahore from Jeddah after dropping pilgrims.
According to a PIA spokesman, the control tower had cautioned the captain about suspected smoke in one of the engines which was not being indicated on the cockpit panel.
The aircraft after landing safely followed the normal safety procedure and the aircraft was fully checked.
The initial report of the ground engineers was that they did not notice any smoke or fire on the aircraft engine. However, according to the standard operating procedure, the aircraft will now have to go through a complete check.

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