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Saudi airline criticised by dead pilot's family

Heart attack follows alleged "stressful" discussion with colleague.
Saudi Airlines, NEWS, Aviation

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Saudi Arabian Airlines has been criticised by the family of a deceased pilot, who passed away after a recent Jeddah to Dammam flight.

According to a report in ArabNews.com, Captain Khaled Mattar experienced chest pains on the March 5th flight and handed control over to his first officer.

A source alleged to be from Saudi Arabian Airlines was quoted in Arab News as saying that medical assistance at Damman airport was delayed, even though air traffic control had been contacted by the first officer prior to landing.

When assistance finally arrived, a doctor checked Captain Mattar and advised rest, so the pilot was checked into the Sheraton Hotel, the report continued.

He later collapsed at the hotel and was transferred to Tadawi General Hospital in Dammam, but admission was refused because “Saudi Arabian Airlines has some past due bills”, according to documentation seen by Arab News.

The pilot was then transferred to Al-Mana General Hospital, which initially refused to accept Mattar because he had “no medical insurance” but later agreed after Sheraton Hotel offered to pay the costs. However, Captain Mattar was pronounced dead soon afterwards.

The source claimed that Captain Mattar had a “very stressful” discussion with a senior colleague before boarding the flight about proposed revisions to the airline’s pay structure for pilots.

Saudi Arabian Airlines is yet to comment on the allegations.

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