Shakedown tests: Cleared ATR to handle six flights every day

Authorities take notice of goat sacrifice at airport; call it a ‘security breach’

Our Correspondent December 19, 2016
Afile photo of an ATR. PHOTO: ATR

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Monday announced it has formally welcomed back to its fleet an ATR, which was among the 10 aircraft temporarily grounded in the wake of the December 7 plane crash near Havelian and was cleared after a shakedown test.

In the fatal crash all 47 people onboard were killed including the singer-turned evangelist Junaid Jamshed and Chitral Deputy Commissioner Osama Warraich. According to PIA, the single aircraft will make six flights during the day. The other nine ATRs will remain grounded till all of them clear the shakedown test one-by-one.

“The PIA is operating six ATR flights today [Monday]. These flights include PK-605 (Islamabad-Gilgit), PK-606 (Gilgit-Islamabad), PK-249 (Islamabad-Kabul), PK-250 (Kabul-Islamabad), PK-681 (Islamabad-Multan) and PK-682 (Multan-Islamabad),” said an official statement.

On Sunday, the ATR operated two flights including PK-681 (Islamabad-Multan) and PK-682 (Multan-Islamabad), it said.

The PIA announced to temporarily suspend its ATR operation on December 12 in view of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) decision of holding shakedown tests of PIA’s entire ATR fleet.

Temporary suspension of ATR operation affected the PIA’s flight operation to smaller airports such as Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Moenjodaro, Zhob, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Chitral and Gilgit.

Authorities take notice of sacrifice at BBIA

Authorities have taken notice of a ‘security breach’ at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport on Sunday, as some of the PIA staffers managed to carry a sharp knife and a black goat to sacrifice the animal within the airport premises.

Civil aviation and airline officials said they have taken notice of the event and would initiate an inquiry as to how the workers managed to carry the knife and the goat in the presence of the Airport Security Force.

A PIA official said he was not defending the security breach but wanted to clarify that the event had not taken place at the runway and that too just before the first flight of an ATR aircraft after it cleared the shakedown test.

“If the staffers had informed [us]about their plans then the sacrifice would have been done outside the airport premises,” he said.

People from different walks of life, however, mocked the airline for doing so instead of taking practical measures to make flights safer.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2016.


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