KARACHI: Nadeem Khan Yousafzai, Managing Director of Pakistan International Airlines and a serving pilot, was reappointed on Saturday as Director General of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), television channels reported.
Yousafzai has replaced current CAA DG Air Marshal (retd) Khalid Chaudhry.
CAA spokesman could not confirm the appointment immediately while the new DG could not be reached for comments.
PIA spokesman also could not confirm the development, saying no notification had been issued because of Saturday being an official holiday.
Meanwhile, according to PPI, former Pakistan Air Force chief Rao Qamar Suleman was appointed Managing Director of PIA, Radio Pakistan reported.
Yousafzai, who was appointed managing director of cash-strapped PIA in February 2011, has also headed CAA for some time in the past.
However, his appointment has raised questions about impartiality of the regulator. CAA has had a thorny relationship with PIA considering the airline’s poor maintenance track record and recurring engineering faults.
Former CAA DG Junaid Amin commented that an operator could never be the regulator. “This is absolutely wrong. CAA checks pilots and deals with aircraft maintenance. It often penalises the airline. With a PIA man at the top, it won’t be easy for CAA now.”
Being a captain, Yousafzai regularly takes flights both on domestic and international routes. It is not clear if he will continue to do that as CAA DG. But during his last tenure in CAA in 2010, he kept flying planes.
Amin said it would be challenging for Yousafzai to remain impartial when it came to grounding of old and faulty PIA aircraft. “The 737s are in bad shape. We had grounded them earlier because of technical problems.”
Airport managers have powers of judicial magistrate, allowing them authority to restrict the pilot who is sick or under the influence of alcohol, he said. “An unfit pilot can be a serious safety hazard. Who will dare stop a sitting CAA DG?”
Correction: An earlier version of the story misspelt “reins” as “reigns” in the headline. The error is regretted.
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