Travel Trouble

Joanita Wibowo

This airline has just instructed "obese" employees to lose weight

 This airline has just instructed "obese" employees to lose weight

Pakistan’s national flag carrier has reportedly told “obese” flight attendants to lose weight or risk being grounded.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) issued a memo to its 1,800 staff that cabin crew with “excess weight” will have six months to slim down or they will not be given clearance to fly.

Aamir Bashir, the airline’s general manager, said any crew found to be above 30 pounds from the “desired weight” after January 31 will be grounded and referred for medical evaluation and treatment until “weight is reduced up to desired standard/BMI”. The excess weight limit will then be cut down by 5 pounds per month.

PIA also issued a suggested weight chart according to the crew’s height. For example, the guide for a woman of 5 feet 7 inches height (1.7m) is 133 to 147 pounds (60 to 67 kilograms).

Around 100 of the crew will need to lose all the excess weight by July 1 to avoid being grounded, according to PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar.

He told CNN that the policy was to ensure that the cabin crew remain “slim, smart and fit”, following apparent complaints about “obese” flight attendants. “No one would like to have shabby crew in the aircraft,” said Tajwar.

This is not the first time an airline has applied weight standards for its aircraft employees. Air India grounded its flight attendants in 2006 and 2015 for being overweight. In November, India’s aviation regulator set a Body Mass Index (BMI) norm of 18 to 25 for pilots and crews.