ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s flag carrier PIA has asked some of its cabin crew with “excess weight” to shed some kilos within six months or risk being grounded, in a bid to make them “slim, smart and fit”, a media report said.

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Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) also issued a suggested weight chart for differing heights and body types, The Express Tribune reported.

Those already “on weight check” need to report monthly to a “grooming cell” to receive clearance to fly, it said.

The carrier’s general manager of flight services Aamir Bashir issued an order on the first day of 2019, saying official excess weight limits would be cut back by five pounds (2.26 kgs) a month, the report said.

In a memo distributed to approximately 1,800 cabin crew, PIA said they must trim down or face being grounded, the report said.

The airline said it is cracking down on what it terms the “excess weight” of some of its cabin crew.

Currently, flight attendants, who are 30 pounds (13.6 kgs) over are still eligible for flight duty, the report said.

According to the airline’s weight chart, for a “medium frame” woman of 5 feet 7 inches height (1.7 meters), for example, the guide is 133 to 147 pounds (60 to 66 kgs).

“Weight check of all the cabin crew will be carried out at their base stations respectively and comprehensive data will be maintained for perusal of management,” the news report quoted the memo as saying.

Around 100, over 5 per cent, of the crew would need to lose weight by July 1 to avoid grounding, Mashhood Tajwar, a PIA spokesman was quoted as saying in the report.

He described the crackdown on overweight flight crew as a “regular, routine matter,” and suggested that the memo was issued as standards for weight had lapsed over time.

It was issued to ensure that the flight attendants were “slim, smart and fit”, Tajwar said.

“No one would like to have shabby crew in the aircraft,” he said, adding that PIA had received complaints about “obese” flight attendants.

Tajwar said the initiative was put in place for reasons of appearance and health, and insisted that PIA was not alone in insisting their cabin crews hit weight targets, the report added.

PIA has been in losses for years but successive governments have failed to improve its financial situation.

Its accumulated losses surged to Rs 36,000 crore by the end of June last year, which, according to the finance ministry, speaks volumes about the persistently deteriorating performance of the carrier.

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