A flight attendant on an international layover in Toronto has been missing since last Friday after he worked on a flight from Islamabad and then failed to meet up with the rest of his crew from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for the return flight home.
According to our calculations, this is the fifth PIA crew member in as many years to have mysteriously disappeared during an international layover. Toronto is the most common city for crew members to go missing in.
The flight attendant, identified by the airline as Ijaz Shah, arrived in the Canadian city on Friday after working on PIA flight PK781 from Islamabad. Shah was due to fly back to Pakistan on Sunday but failed to turn up for the bus ride to the airport.
Shah was reported missing, and the Canada Border Services Agency is now investigating the flight attendant’s disappearance.
Foreign flight attendants have been known to ‘abscond’ from their airline to seek a better life in a layover country. The last known disappearance of a PIA flight attendant was in February 2021 after they worked a flight from Lahore.
A flight attendant from the same airline was also reported missing in Toronto in July 2020, and in 2018 a fourth PIA crew member claimed asylum in Canada after working a flight.
The fifth crew member went missing in 2019 in Paris. The flight attendant allegedly left a handwritten resignation note in her hotel room before fleeing to Belgium.
Following last year’s incident, a PIA spokesperson said the airline would start seizing crew member passports on arrival in Toronto to make the process of fleeing slightly harder.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.