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Pakistan airline leaves two coffins at New York airport, apologises

Following the mix-up, the body of one Pakistani man was delivered to Lahore on Wednesday on an Etihad Airways flight, while the family of the second man decided to bury him in Maryland instead.

world Updated: Nov 01, 2017 20:00 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
New York airport,Lahore,Pakistan International Airlines
The oversight occurred on Saturday at New York’s JFK airport as the airline prepared for its final flight from the US city to Lahore via Manchester, with the route since suspended due to financial losses.(Reuters file)

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) apologised on Wednesday for leaving behind in New York City two coffins that were meant to be flown to Lahore, the latest in a string of embarrassing controversies to hit the troubled flag carrier.

The oversight occurred on Saturday at New York’s JFK airport as PIA prepared for its final flight from the US city to Lahore via Manchester, with the route being suspended because of financial losses.

Following the mix-up, the corpse of Nasir Ali was delivered to Lahore on an Etihad Airways flight on Wednesday, while the family of the second man, Nauman Badar, decided to bury him in Maryland instead.

Expressing regret, PIA spokesman Mashood Tajwar said the mistake was committed by the agency providing luggage handling services to the airline. PIA said it had “expressed solidarity” with the mourning families.

PIA “regrets the inconvenience caused due to negligence...and expresses its sympathies with the family members of the deceased persons”, the spokesman said in a statement.

PIA chairman Musharraf Rasool Cyan had ordered an inquiry into the incident, the spokesman added.

The airline was considered a global leader in commercial aviation until the 1970s but has been plagued by controversies in recent years and saddled with billions of dollars of debt, with a potential government bailout looming.

Domestic flights are often delayed for VIPs while PIA employees have been caught smuggling goods ranging from iPhones to narcotics.

Last year, two airline employees were killed at Karachi airport during a nine-day strike spurred by plans to privatise the airline.

In 2013, one of its pilots was jailed for nine months in Britain for being drunk before he was due to fly from Leeds to Islamabad with 156 people on board.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 14:35 IST