Pakistan pilot refused to fly saying his shift ended: 3 instances to prove it was a wise decision

Passengers saw red after a Pakistani pilot refused to fly saying that his shift has ended. The decision most likely saved the lives of the angry passengers.

 |  3-minute read |   21-01-2022
  • ---
    Total Shares

A Pakistani pilot flying from Saudi Arabia’s Dammam to Islamabad in Pakistan refused to fly after making an emergency landing due to weather, saying that it was beyond his shift hours. It’s a no-brainer that the pilot’s resistance made the passengers quite irritated. The passengers on the flight protested for some time by refusing to deboard.


However, security was called in to calm the waters and the passengers were sent to nearby hotels and the flight was rescheduled for later in the day.

“A pilot should rest because it is necessary for flight safety. All passengers will reach 11 pm at Islamabad Airport until then all arrangements have been made in hotels,” a PIA spokesperson told Gulf News in response.

While the news may come as bizarre, the pilot’s resistance to flying once his shift ended was perhaps a good one. Besides, who likes to work after hours?

Here are 3 instances that prove the PIA pilot’s decision to not work beyond shift was a good and healthy one:


flydubai-647_012122011853.jpgThe crash site of Flydubai plane in Russia. Photo: Erik Romanenko/Facebook

On March 16, 2016, a Flydubai flight flying from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don Airport, Russia crashed killing 55 passengers and seven crew members. While the weather was cited as the official cause behind the crash, reports also suggested overworked pilots and subsequent pilot error.

Former Flydubai employees were reported saying that the airliner’s roster for pilots was brutal and often resulted in overworked pilots suffering from fatigue. One of the pilots, Alejandro Cruz Alava had worked 10 out of 11 days leading up to the crash with several back-to-back flights.



In 2013, Air India came under scrutiny for the behaviour of two of its pilots on a Bangkok to New Delhi flight with 166 passengers. The two pilots made two air hostesses take their place in the cockpit, put the flight on auto-pilot and went to take a business class snooze.

It was only when the auto-pilot turned off accidentally that the pilots rushed to take control of the plane. While the airline officials said the air hostesses were in the cockpit for only 20 minutes of the flight duration, the DGCA said they were there for the majority of the 3-hour flight.

Well, if the pilots are not well-rested perhaps this is what we can expect mid-air. Though in this particular, it is unknown whether the pilots were being worked to the bone or if it was just a case of a misdemeanor at work.



In 2016, 40 overworked pilots belonging to SpiceJet were grounded for flying for more than the allotted flying hours, which is 1000 hours per year. So, yes, pilots can even risk suspension or even their jobs if they work beyond shift hours.

Can’t really blame the Pakistani pilot then, can we?

There have been several instances of pilot fatigue, confusion, complacency, mental health, daze resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives. Just like it is dangerous to have someone inexperienced and exhausted at the wheels of a car, it is just as dangerous if not more to have an unfit pilot at the helm of a plane.


Amrutha Pagad Amrutha Pagad @amrutha_pagad

Amrutha loves writing on Humour, Politics, Environment and Gender. She is a Senior Sub editor at DailyO.

Like DailyO Facebook page to know what's trending.