Investigations began after reports of a Pakistan International flight that flew to Saudi Arabia from Karachi with extra passengers standing in the plane’s aisles after staff allowed them to do so.

People carrying handwritten boarding passes rushed to find a seat as the airline’s Boeing 777 began taxiing for takeoff back in January, said the Pakistani paper Dawn’s report.

The plane is only allowed to have 409 passengers on it at a time, although the PK743 flight to Medina allowed 416, said the report.

A PIA spokesperson, Danyal Gilani, also confirmed the investigation that the airlines begun “the matter pertaining to the travel of more passengers than the booked load” and “strict action would be taken against anyone found at fault.”

However, he dismissed allegations that passengers were standing throughout the flight , saying they were “exaggerated and baseless”. “It is not possible for anyone to travel like that in an aircraft, regardless of the duration of the flight,” he mentioned.

Safety Offense and Possible Issues

The airline’s official computerized record of passengers on the flight didn’t mention additional travellers.

Carrying extra  passengers on a any plane is considered a severe breach of rules and safety regulations. Those who do not officially have a seat wouldn’t get an oxygen mask, leaving the possibility of congestion or chaos if that plane ever needed evacuating.

Captain and Crew Reactions

The captain of the flight, Anwar Adil, said to Dawn that he had only discovered the additional passengers after he had already taken off, leaving it difficult to return due to the need to dump fuel in order to safely land.

“I had already left and the senior purser [cabin crew] did not point out extra passengers before closing the aircraft door. Therefore, after takeoff, immediate landing back in Karachi was not possible,” he stated.

“It may be appreciated that immediate landing in Karachi after takeoff required a lot of fuel dumping, which was not in the interest of the airline.”