Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Friday rejected claims circulating in the media that its fleet of aircraft is faulty.
"It defies common sense that pilots and engineers would fly an aircraft that does not meet safety standards, and risk their own lives," the statement issued read, referring to speculation on mainstream media as well as social media that the national carrier was operating with fault aircraft.
The PIA Spokesman Danyal Gillani clarified that the ATR is perfectly safe for flying. "It is useful and economical on short haul flights in both hot and cold weather conditions," he said.
A PIA flight PK-661 carrying 48 passengers and crew crashed on the way to Islamabad from Chitral on Wednesday. The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed there were no survivors from the ill-fated flight.
Popular singer-turned-preacher Junaid Jamshed also perished in the crash along with his wife.
Read more: 'I fell in love with Junaid Jamshed's voice'
Pilot association speaks out
Speaking to DawnNews Thursday, Pakistan Air Lines Pilots Association (Palpa) Captain Khalid Hamza said that flying a faulty plane is incredibly difficult for any pilot.
"They should not be blamed for such incidents," he said, adding spare parts for PIA aircraft are never readily available and that the airline has been informed about it time and again.
However, Capt Hamza said the aforementioned problem is not limited to PIA.
"Other private companies also face similar inadequacies," he added, urging the Pakistani government to look into and invest in improving the aviation sector.
"A pilot only sends a 'May Day' signal as a last resort," the Palpa president said, adding aircraft can land safely even if one of the engines is working.
Capt Hamza was of the opinion that the investigation of the recent PIA plane crash should be done independently.
"Pilots, who die in a crash, cannot defend themselves," he said, adding that is why it is easy to blame the pilot and close the investigation.
"A crash, be it of a car or a train or a plane, does not happen all of a sudden," he said.
"An entire chain of events is involved that leads to the crash," the Palpa president said, adding an investigation is necessary to dissect these events and ascertain where the fault lied.
"In my 38 years of experience, I've never heard a pilot give out the 'May Day' signal, except for when I was in training," Capt Hamza added, saying the signal is only sent in extreme emergencies such as when the engine catches fire.