PIA temporarily grounds all ATR aircraft

Published: December 12, 2016
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Pakistan International Airlines on Monday announced it has temporarily suspended its ATR operation after a crash last week killed 47 people and a second aircraft reported technical issues shortly before it was supposed to take off overnight.

In view of Civil Aviation Authority’s decision of holding shakedown tests of PIA’s entire ATR fleet, it has been decided to keep all 10 ATR aircraft grounded till they are cleared after thorough examination, a press release from the airline stated.

Flight PK-661: ATR manufacturer team may join crash probe

Temporary suspension of ATR operation will particularly affect PIA’s flight operation to smaller airports such as Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Moenjodaro, Zhob, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Chitral and Gilgit. Passengers are strongly advised to check status of their flights from PIA Call Center at 111-786-786.

The move comes after PK-661 from Chitral to Islamabad crashed in Abbottabad. Another PIA ATR faced “technical issues” late Sunday just before it was set to take off from Multan on a flight to Karachi and was called back to its parking bay, though the airline denied media reports that one of the engines caught fire.

A team from the France-based ATR aircraft manufacturer may join Pakistani investigators in probing the cause of the PIA plane crash that killed all 47 people on board on December 7.

PIA’s flight PK-661 en route to Islamabad from the northern city of Chitral had crashed into a hillside near Abbottabad after one of its two turboprop engines failed and burst into flames.

Defies common sense that pilots will fly aircraft with defects: PIA

Among those on board was Junaid Jamshed, a former singer-turned evangelist and DC Chitral Osama Warich. One Chinese and two Austrian citizens were also among the passengers.

The turboprop ATR aircraft is being operated in more than 100 countries by 200 airlines, including India, that has almost the same climatic and ground conditions.

PIA Chairman Azam Saigol at a news conference after the crash had said the nine-year-old plane was deemed to be ‘technically sound’ when it last underwent a detailed inspection in October.

Engine trouble is initially believed responsible for Wednesday’s deadly plane crash, but many questions remain, including about the airworthiness of the ATR-42 aircraft, stirring new worries about the safety record of the ailing national carrier Pakistan International Airlines.

Three more victims identified

Three more bodies of PK-661 victims were identified on Monday. Official sources of  Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) said the bodies of Junaid Jamshed’s wife, Nayha Junaid, one Austrian citizen and Saleh Janjua (the pilot) had been identified.

Twelve bodies have been identified so far. All results of the DNA profiling are expected to be received by December 17.

Once the results are in, the bodies will be handed over to the families collectively, according to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) administrator Dr Altaf Hussain.

The hospital arranged Quran Khawani for the deceased on Sunday wherein the victims’ relatives, hospital staff and others prayed for the departed souls. Pakistan International Airlines has arranged accommodation for the registered relatives in a hotel near the hospital until the verification process in over.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • bilal
    Dec 12, 2016 - 10:31AM

    Why ground when ATRs are FIT to Fly? PIA I am looking at you.Recommend

  • abreez
    Dec 12, 2016 - 10:47AM

    ATR’s are not suitable plane for Pakistani terrain and if PIA wants to continue ATR operations then these operations must be limited in Punjab and Sind.
    ATR 42-500
    Range, loaded 1,555 km
    Service ceiling 25,000 ftRecommend

  • JKhan
    Dec 12, 2016 - 10:55AM

    PIA would never do such a thing that saves human lives; it is on orders from the CAA.Recommend

  • abreez
    Dec 12, 2016 - 11:21AM

    One wonder that Pakistani royalty already knew what is good for Pakistani terrain.
    Embraer Phenom 100
    • Crew: 1 pilot
    • Capacity: 5 to 7 passengers
    Range: 2,182 km
    Service ceiling: 12,497 m (41,000 ft)
    (4 for VIP transport in Pakistan Air Force)
    Cessna Citation V
    • Crew: 2
    • Capacity: 7 – 8 passengers
    Range: 1,960 nm (2,257 mi, 3,650 km)
    • Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,715 m)
    (1 for VIP transport in Pakistan Air Force)Recommend

  • Ibrahim
    Dec 12, 2016 - 3:15PM

    It would be better that they should train their pilots to fight from all contingencies during the flight. PIA pilots who went for ATR training in Singapore were unable to clear simulator tests. Secondly flying an aircraft on autopilot is an easy job a kid of 3rd grade can also do it …. What they are being paid for is flying and controlling aircraft in such eventualities. ATR is a glider it is having a tendency to glide while making a landing aproach …. thirdly if one engine meets failure during the flight aircraft can fly on single engine by mere fuel adjustments… these are skills which are expected out of a pilot who is being paid to fly world class Airlines ….
    IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT PIA SHOULD TRAIN THEIR PILOTS ON MERIT AND THOSE WHO ARE NOT DESERVING SHOULD BE THROWN OUT… to avoid any mishap in futureRecommend

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