After Air Indus, CAA places curbs on Shaheen Air

The order came after one of SAI’s Boeing 737 aircraft broke down on the runway of Quetta International Airport


Saad Hasan July 16, 2015
The four SAI aircraft that have been grounded include two Airbus 330-300s, one A-320-200s and one Boeing-737 400s. PHOTO: SHAHEEN AIR OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

KARACHI: When a Boeing 737 flying from Islamabad laden with passengers broke down on the Quetta International Airport runway as it came in for a landing on Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was prompted into grounding four aircraft of the offending operator, Shaheen Air International (SAI).

The move comes just weeks after the authority had suspended another private carrier, Air Indus, for disregarding safety guidelines.


Read: CAA grounds Air Indus over safety concerns

"That (breakdown) caused a three and a half hour delay for the flight of Fly Dubai," said CAA spokesperson Pervez George.

"We have been warning Shaheen Air for weeks to fix issues with their aircraft but they were not listening,” he said adding that “CAA will not compromise on safety of passengers."

Pakistan’s oldest private air carrier, the CAA grounded four aircraft of SAI, an Airbus A320-200, two Airbus A330-300s and a Boeing 737-400.

The jets have defects ranging from a faulty fuel barometer to rusting fuselage, officials said.

Since 2006, Pakistan has seen five aircraft crashes in which 324 passengers and crew have been killed. However, none of the accidents involved either Air Indus or SAI, though at least two other private carriers, AirBlue and Bhoja Air were involved.

CAA has often come under criticism for going easy on cash-strapped domestic airlines even as passengers routinely complain of flight delays due to last-minute technical glitches in the aircraft.

But last month, the CAA had delivered a severe blow to struggling newcomer Air Indus when it forced the private airline to suspend its operations for repeatedly failing to meet safety guidelines.

Read: Court grants Air Indus new lease of life

Even though Air Indus got legal respite in the shape of a stay order from the Sindh High Court, the regulator has stuck with its initial decision, insisting that lives of passengers are at risk.

"Shaheen was also repeatedly issued warnings. They just chose to look the other way. In the end we had no other option," explained.

SAI is one of the biggest private carriers in the country with 20 active aircraft in its fleet, according to planespotters.net. But many of these aircraft remain on ground for want of repairs, industry officials claimed.

"Financial issues have marred all our domestic airlines," said an official.

However, some people in the industry will view the latest drive of CAA with some skepticism as it comes at a time when gulf carriers have been allowed almost free reign over Pakistani airspace.

"These foreign airlines have been given permission to fly to even remote cities like Turbat and Gwadar. That’s going to kill all the domestic airlines pretty soon," said an official of one of the domestic airlines.

COMMENTS (18)

Rubbish! | 5 years ago | Reply @Faizan hussain: Airports are not run like Larri Adda!
Airport management have high-cost to run airports, that runs into billions. They are only asking what all airlines everywhere pay for landing, fueling, boarding, loading, storage, Crash-Fire equipment, Customs, Air Traffic Control, repair, storage and take-off. The staff salaries etc. If you're used to illegal gas, power & water connections, the sorry! That won't work here. CAA budget must be self-sustaining. The Govt don't fund Civil Aviation Authority. You can land your plane on a corn-field if you can't pay the fees.
Faizan hussain | 5 years ago | Reply CAA is the most corrupt organisation in Pakistan they had being demanding millions of rupees from Air Indus and Shaheen air when they refused to get there demand fulfill they find all the fault in there operation specially close to Eid making poor passenger suffer how come all the aircraft become Susafe close to Eid because this is the time to make money and CAA demands there share let's see the higher management of CAA they all come from airforce or PIA. Surprisingly they are incompitant and corrupt They demandRs300000 to Rs 400000 just to clear ALTP written exams .GM licensing and GM general flying removed for wrong doing and DDGCA has being involve in protecting these corrupt officers Air Marshal Khalid chaudry and Air Marshall Yousuf were removed as they are incompitant .What wrong with the Air Force that they cannot produce honest Officer . Let see Mr Gardazi and shujat Azeem well they both are 100percent incompetent and dishonest to the job
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