By Taazakhabar News Bureau
Pakistan International Airlines Flight 268 - an Airbus A300 crashed while trying to land at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport on 28 September 1992. All 167 people on board were killed in the deadliest aviation crash on Nepalese soil
Airblue Flight ED 202 In the worst air crash in the history of aviation in Pakistan an Airbus 321 aircraft operated by Airblue a private airline crashed near Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad on killing all 146 passengers and six crew on 28 July 2010.
Bhoja Air Flight 213, a Boeing 737-200 operated by Pakistan’s Bhoja Air crashed near Rawalpindi killing all 121 passengers and six crew on 20 April 2012.
Pakistan International Airlines Flight 661: A Pakistan International Airlines from Chitral to Islamabad burst into flames killing 47 people in 2016. According to inside information, the aircraft was not fit to fly. After the incident, many PIA pilots refused to fly the aircraft which according to them had a faulty engine that did not meet the safety standards. Within a week after the incident, the PIA chairman Azam Saigol was reportedly asked to resign.
Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303: A 320 Airbus on its way from Lahore to Karachi, Pakistan, crashed almost at the end of the 90-minute flight at Karachi, killing 91 passengers and eight crew members on board 22 May 2020. Only two passengers and 9 others on the ground were injured in the crash. Initial investigations have revealed that the pilot who had a flying experience of 18,000 flight hours miscalculated his flying skills and ignored the warnings from air traffic control about the height and speed of the aircraft on approach.
According to Pakistan Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, there was nothing wrong with the aircraft and it was a human error. The pilot initially failed to deploy the landing gear correctly, which led to the aircraft scraping the runway before taking off again. Then, as it was about to make a second landing, air traffic controllers failed to inform the pilot that the engines had been left badly damaged he said.
Pakistani former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who served as Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines and floated a private airline called Airble was quoted as saying “The premature sharing of the list is not a good step from the government. This is a serious matter and it should be investigated as 40% of our total pilots are dubious now. The government first issued the list without any investigation and only announced an investigation later.”
On 25 June 2020, 150 of the pilots employed by Pakistan International Airlines PIA were indefinitely grounded for holding “bogus or suspicious licenses”. All these are symptoms of a larger malaise affecting the civil aviation sector in Pakistan.
PIA, which has a fleet of 31 aircraft and 434 pilots, is plagued by mismanagement as well as lapses in-licensing and safety. Successive governments in the past have tried to privatize and regulate the loss-making carrier but failed due to political pressure.
Investigations have revealed that 262 of the 860 licensed pilots working for state-owned PIA – including 109 commercial and 153 transport pilots were unfit to fly.
Apart from PIA, the list of rogue pilots includes those working for private Pakistani airlines like Shaheen Airlines (17), Serene Airline (10), and Air Blue (9).
There was a time when Shaheen Airlines (SAI) was Pakistan’s second-largest airline but suspended all operations due to financial troubles in October 2018. Pakistani law requires a private airline to have a minimum of three aircraft in its fleet Shaheen could not fulfill the requirement of renewing its license after one of its Boeing 737-200 was destroyed by fire at the Karachi Airport, Pakistan. SAI also defaulted in payment of salaries to its 2,800 employees.
Finally when the chips were down the SAI Chairman Kashif Mehmud Sehbai and CEO Ehsan Khalid Sehbai managed to escape Pakistan after non-payment of dues amounting to Rs 1.36 billion. Meanwhile, the airline’s bank accounts were frozen and banks were unwilling to extend further loans to repay the debts by the airline.
These are some of the reasons behind the crisis in the aviation industry in Pakistan in which around 3,000 pilots, ground duty technicians and air traffic controllers have been rendered jobless.
To add further fuel to the fire over 10% of Pakistani commercial pilot license holders work for foreign airlines.
The Pakistan Air Line Pilots Association has challenged the authenticity of the list and asked the judiciary to probe the issue, citing distrust in a transparent government investigation.
Based on these reports Turkish Airlines has decided to ground 16 Pakistani pilots working for them.
Likewise, Vietnam’s aviation authority has grounded all Pakistani pilots working for Vietnamese airlines.
Even other Air transport bodies like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have expressed concerns over such a large number of pilots with dubious credentials.
|List of defunct airlines of Pakistan
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