Pakistan Airline Warns Staff: Lose Weight Or Lose Your Jobs

Justin SullivanGetty Images

Pakistan International Airlines, the national carrier for Pakistan, has issued a memo to all cabin crew warning them that if they are overweight, they will be grounded unless they start to shed the pounds.

A memo has been sent out by managers at the airline to their 1,800-strong cabin crew team informing them that they can expect their weight to be measured in the coming months. If they are found to be carrying “excess weight,” they will be given tough monthly targets to lose it. If they fail to hit their targets, they will be suspended from in-air duties.

The memo has been leaked to Pakistan’s ARY News service and reported globally. According to the Daily Mail, the memo reads, “If any crew found above 30lbs from the desired weight after January 31, 2019, will be grounded and referred to Aircrew Medical Centre for medical evaluation and treatment until weight is reduced up to desired standard/BMI.”

The memo does not make it clear what Pakistan International Airline’s “desired weight” for their staff is, but the memo does add that cabin crew are expected to be “slim,” as well as “smart and fit.” When cabin crew start for work for the airline, they are issued with a suggested weight chart which suggests that female employees who are 5ft 7in tall should weigh between 133-147lbs (60-67kg).

It is claimed that the airline has received a number of complaints about overweight staff, leaving managers concerned that the issue was damaging their company’s reputation.

England v Pakistan - 4th NatWest ODI
Featured image credit: Richard HeathcoteGetty Images

A spokesman for the airline, Mashhood Tajwar, confirmed the authenticity of the memo and the motivation behind it. “No one would like to have shabby crew in the aircraft,” he reportedly told CNN.

He added that the aim of the weight-loss policy was to improve both the appearance and health of the staff, and was adamant that Pakistan International Airlines was not the only airline to be making such demands of their cabin crew.

Remarkably, he also claimed that this memo was a “regular, routine matter” and there was nothing particularly special about it.

Mr Tajwar said that Pakistan International Airlines expected around 100 of their staff to be affected by the policy, which is around 5 percent of their total cabin crew workforce.

Pakistan International Airlines is not the first airline to make such demands of their cabin crew. In 2015, Air India issued a similar demand which resulted in a total of 130 cabin crew staff being taken off flight duty as a result of having a BMI deemed too high.

However, while a BMI over 30 is the generally accepted level of obesity, Air India chose to set the level at 27.