LAHORE: PIA engineers have warned the management against operating flights without ensuring the aircraft’s maintenance protocols as it may cause serious safety hazards.

“The PIA management is forcing the engineers to release the aircraft without accomplishment of the prerequisites which are mandatory as per ICAO and PCAA regulations. The safety of passengers and the aircraft itself is being jeopardised. Inspections and components’ replacement issues are being waived off by PCAA Pakistan under pressure by the government officials,” the Society of Aircraft Engineers of Pakistan said.

It said none of its members had called off the strike.

“Aircraft AP-BHX (PK741, ISB-JED) that took off from Islamabad last night was released under such circumstances. One passenger door — Emergency Slide / Raft — was due to be replaced ‘Time — Expired’ on Feb 6, which was not duly replaced and the aircraft was dispatched under un-airworthy conditions. All other aircraft were also dispatched under similar conditions. The due checks as per regulatory requirements were not carried out,” a PIA engineer told Dawn.

He said operating flights without ensuring aircraft’s maintenance was a serious issue. “We will take up the matter with ICAO and other regulatory bodies as it may seriously affect the aviation activities not only for PIA but for other local carriers in Pakistan,” he said.

When asked whether the airline had resumed its operation without ensuring ground aircraft maintenance protocols, PIA Lahore spokesman Athar Awan told Dawn that some ground staff, including engineers, must have been engaged to declare the aircraft fit to fly. “The PIA cannot take risk with regard to safety of passengers and crew,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2016

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