- Pakistan International Airlines told its cabin crew they must lose weight if they want to continue flying.
- The ruling will affect around 100 flight atendants deemed “overweight.”
- They have six months to lose 30lbs (13.6kg).
A Pakistani airline has told its crew members that if they are too overweight, they soon won’t be able to fly.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) sent a memo to its 1,800 employees stating that any flight attendants who failed to slim down to a certain weight in six months would be grounded.
The memo, which was seen by CNN, was reportedly sent on January 1 2019 by PIA’s general manager of flight services, Aamir Bashir.
It reads: “Any crew found above 30lbs from the desired weight after 31 January 2019 will be grounded and referred to Air Crew Medical Center for medical evaluation and treatment until weight is reduced up to desired standard/BMI.”
Flight attendants who are currently 30lbs (13.6kg) over the airline’s limit need to lose five pounds a month to remain eligible for flight duty, according to the memo, as the official excess weight limits will be reduced by this amount every month.
Staff were reportedly also given a chart showing the different weight bands depending on their height.
CNN reports that the guide says a “medium frame” woman who is 5’7″ (170cm) tall, for example, should weigh 133 – 147 pounds (60.3kg – 66.6kg).
Employees will be given regular “weight checks,” too.
“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 memo reads.
If the grounded “overweight” flight attendants lose enough weight, they will be able to fly again, but in the meantime they will have to report to a “grooming cell” every month.
According to PIA spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar, who spoke to CNN, the new weight limits will affect 100 crew members (5% of staff) and are described as a “regular, routine matter” designed to ensure flight attendants appear “slim, smart, and fit.”
“No one would like to have shabby crew in the aircraft,” he said, explaining that the ruling has the aim of improving both appearance and health of staff.
The airline claims that passengers have complained about cabin crew being “obese” over the previous year, but it did not elaborate on how many complaints had been received.
This is not the first time an airline has cracked down on the weight of employees – in 2015, Air India banned 130 members of its cabin crew (most of whom were women) from flying because they were considered “overweight.”
And in 2014, India’s civil aviation regulator ruled that female flight attendants must have a body mass index (BMI) of 18-22 in order to be able to fly, while the equivalent for men was a more lenient 18-25.
This gender disparity was reportedly done away with in 2018, when the BMI restrictions for both men and women were made equal.
INSIDER has contacted Pakistan International Airlines for comment.