Defence Ministry suspends Bhoja Air operations

Published: May 29, 2012
CAA says operations suspended till Bhoja Air acquires at least three aircrafts for domestic operations.

CAA says operations suspended till Bhoja Air acquires at least three aircrafts for domestic operations.

KARACHI: The Defence Ministry on Tuesday suspended flights of Bhoja Air, a little over a month after one of its passenger planes crashed near Islamabad, killing all 127 people on board.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that the airline had been reduced to just one aircraft, below the minimum requirement, after one of its remaining two planes developed a fault. The Defence Ministry ordered a halt to operations.

“Bhoja Air’s operations have been suspended until it acquires at least three aircrafts for domestic operations,” CAA spokesman Pervez George told AFP.

Nobody from the airline was immediately available to comment.

A Bhoja Air Boeing 737 came down in fields near Islamabad on April 20 killing all 127 people on board.

In July 2010 an Airbus jet operated by Airblue crashed into the Margalla hills overlooking Islamabad while coming in to land after a flight from Karachi, killing 152 people in the worst air disaster ever on Pakistani soil.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Cautious
    May 29, 2012 - 9:54PM

    I can see suspending ones license based on safety but why does quantity enter into the equation. Further – shouldn’t your domestic airlines be run by civilian authorities – doesn’t your military have enough on it’s plate?


  • Salman
    May 29, 2012 - 10:14PM

    Bhoja air was still in operation after that crash with their pathetic small fleet of ancient planes ?Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 29, 2012 - 10:52PM

    Bhoja Air was not suppose to operate its first inaugural flight from Karachi to Islamabad without proper checking of the old age aircraft, which was grounded 13 years back by British Airways and crashed near Islamabad Airport, killing all the passengers and crew members on spot.

    No action has been taken by the concerned authorities, nor the legal heirs of the deceased have been paid compensation.


  • May 29, 2012 - 11:27PM

    Down boy, Down!


  • Meekal Ahmed
    May 29, 2012 - 11:56PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    obviously you cannot run a commercial airline with one aircraft. A minimum of three for domestic operations seems fair.

    They have one MD-80 parked in Dubai but that is not even registered in Pakistan.

    As for the army, I don’t know what they have to do with this. Only Shaheen is run by the army/air force. All others airlines are civilian. The pity is that the CAA is under the Ministry of Defense if that is what you meant.

    Mr Siddiqui, your facts are not up to date. The Bhoja Air 727-200 in question was not grounded 13 years ago by BA although BA was the initial owner. It changed hands several times. But that is not the real issue and nor is the age of the aircraft. Sure being old it was a bit if a gass-guzzler and maintenance costs were high and genuine sprares difficult to get. But it was flyable. The real problem was that, being old, it had old avionics — no wind-shear detection systems for example. If that was indeed the cause of the accident, then it is for the CAA to rule that while aircraft of more than say 12 years of age can operate in Pakistan they MUST BE RETO-FITTED WITH …… and then list the modern avionics they MUST have or else an operators certificate will be denied.

    Finally, on compensation, I believe the families are being compensated on presentation of suitable documentation. That cannot be done over-night as I am sure you can well understand.


  • Nand
    May 30, 2012 - 12:03AM

    The headlines says ‘Defence Ministry suspends Bhoja Air operations’. Since when has Defence Ministry replaced CAA?


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 30, 2012 - 12:34AM

    @Meekal Ahmed:

    Thank you for your comments.

    I have been in Pakistan and have also lived abroad.

    I have noticed one thing that according to international standards every machinery or spare parts has completed its live, the organisations, companies and individual does not used the “expired” machinery or spare parts.

    You also must have noticed one thing that in UAE, if a car complete its life, the owner throw away the car and does not use it any more.

    It is very very unfortunate that in Pakistan people do not care of these things. Their ultimate goal is to earn money by hook or crook, no matter how many precious human lives are put at stake.

    One of the reasons that so many people die in Pakistan is due to intentional neglect, carelessness and not maintaining the standards.

    Go and see at the control towers of Karachi and Lahore. You will find that restless people are working day and night and there is a very high probability that there may be a mid-air crash as people at control towers do not get the proper rest, by the CAA does not take any notice of this situation.

    Look at the smoke emitting vehicles running on the roads. Have you seen such smoke emitting vehicles running on the roads in developed countries?

    This is Pakistan where human lives do not matter. What matter is the money, money and only money.


  • Meekal Ahmed
    May 30, 2012 - 1:10AM

    CAA is under Defense.



  • najma shaikh
    May 30, 2012 - 1:11AM

    i like bhoja air i want bhoja air plzzz


  • Very 1
    May 30, 2012 - 2:03AM

    @Cautious: Please do some cautious research before your comments. Thanks in advance.


  • check.facts
    May 30, 2012 - 2:38AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddique: Planes are grounded for mantainence all the time. Heck, some dump them in the middle of the dessert only to bring them back in service at a later date with minimal restoration. Doesn’t mean that they are unsafe to fly in, they just have to have the proper equipment, pilot and mantainence.

    @Meekal Ahmed Shaheen Air is now a private operation. The owner (current MD) of Bhoja Air was previously involved in the running Shaheen Air which was sold to private (overseas) investores. Also, some countries have banned the plane type in question due to it’s old age and lack of avionics (in most cases, it’s cheaper to buy a newer plane with avionics then retrofit to an older aircraft).

    @Cautious @Nand: Licenses for Airlines are given by the Ministry of Defence, a part of the Government of Pakistan and NOT the army. CAA comes under the Ministry of Defence.


  • Scales9
    May 30, 2012 - 3:24AM

    After loss of so many lives , they suspend operations of Bhoja airline! jaldi khiyal aa giya


  • May 30, 2012 - 7:11AM

    “Defense Ministry suspends Bhoja Air flights. The sentence should read, “CAA suspends all Bhoja Air flights.”

    Allowing an airline to operate with two aircraft in Pakistan when all the institutions are moribund or dead is a sure-shot prescription to disaster. That is exactly what happened. Rules and regulations, legislation and laws are on paper only and meant for the waste paper basket.

    When has an institution functioned in accordance with the laws of Pakistan? The Supreme Court and armed forces, to my mind are the only exceptions, followed by the SBP and CCP.



  • Meekal Ahmed
    May 31, 2012 - 1:07AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    I agree with you. Life in our part of the world is cheap.

    But I don’t think this accident was related to the airworthiness of the a/c BUT as I said it MAY be related to the fact that the systems on board were not too good — such as one which would have given them ADVANCED warning of possible wind-shear. I would also imagine the on-board radar was also an old black-and-white system as opposed to the modern color-coded radar’s.

    But then look at Air Blue. The finest and the most sophisticated a/c in the world with every safety device known to man. A true state-of-the-art aircraft.

    And what happened?

    They ignored all the warnings blaring at them and hit a hill!


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