PIA flight 782 departs for Manchester from Sweden

PIA flight PK 782 Toronto-Karachi which was diverted to Stockholm, Sweden, due to security concerns, has departed for Manchester after receiving security clearance.

A PIA statement issued here on Saturday said that a passenger, a Canadian national of Pakistan origin, was being questioned.

It said that the flight departed from Toronto on Friday September 24, 2010 at 5:00 PM (Canadian Time) and was expected to arrive in Karachi by 3:40 PM (Pakistan Time) on Saturday September 25, 2010.

It said that this was a non stop flight from Toronto to Karachi. The duration of flight PK 782 from Toronto to Karachi (non stop) was 13 hours and 40 minutes.

The Captain of the flight PK 782 while flying over European airspace received a message from Stockholm Air Control tower that the Canadian Police suspect a security threat on flight PK 782- Boeing 777 aircraft.

The Captain immediately acknowledged the message and informed PIA’s Central Control of the situation; after which the aircraft was landed at Stockholm – Arlanda Airport.

PIA’s Flight Operations – Central Control Office immediately started communication with Stockholm Airport authorities to determine the safety of passengers, crew and the aircraft on receiving the news.

Immediately the entire PIA management including Managing Director, Captain Aijaz Haroon, Director Flight Operations, Captain Shuja Naqvi, Senior General Manager Central Control and Operations, Captain Haroon Abdullah, General Manager Passenger Handling Services, Aijaz Mazhar and other senior officials of the airline reached the PIA Head Office.

The Stockholm Airport authorities informed the PIA flight control that all the passengers, crew and aircraft were safe and that the security personnel were checking the aircraft.

Throughout the day, the flight control was constantly seeking updates from the security personnel and the Airport authorities while the Situation Room of the Central Control maintained contact with the aircraft Captain through satellite communication.

The senior officials of Pakistan Embassy in Sweden also reached the airport and were coordinating and expeditiously handling the situation.

PIA management thanked the Pakistan Ambassador to Sweden, Nadeem Riaz, and other senior officials for their timely support and assistance.

All 255 passengers including 12 infants and 18 crew members were disembarked from the aircraft to the airport’s international transit lounge.

The Stockholm security personnel informed PIA that one passenger, a Canadian National of Pakistani origin was being questioned.

The Passengers of PK 782 included 102 Canadians Nationals, 139 Pakistani Nationals, 08 US Nationals, 03 Indian Nationals and 01 each from Bangladesh, Malaysia and Japan.

PIA aircraft remained on ground for about nine and a half hours, while the passengers remained in the international transit lounge for six hours.

The flight after receiving clearance from Stockholm Security Authorities departed for Manchester at 8:00 PM (PST) with 254 passengers, offloading the suspected passenger being questioned by the security officials.

The flight is expected to reach Manchester 10:00 PM (PST) for Change of Crew (due to crew duty time limitations) and would leave Manchester by midnight (PST) and is expected to arrive Karachi on Sunday at 8:00 AM (PST).