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An ATR plane used by PIA.— Photo courtesy: PIA Facebook page
An ATR plane used by PIA.— Photo courtesy: PIA Facebook page

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has decided to ground all 10 ATR planes in its fleet after a decision by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to hold shakedown tests of the aircraft, the airline said on Monday.

"It has been decided to keep all 10 ATR aircraft grounded till they are cleared after thorough examination," said a PIA press release.

The statement said the "temporary suspension of ATR operation" will affect PIA's flights to smaller airports like Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Mohenjo Daro, Zhob, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Chitral and Gilgit.

Passengers have been advised to check the status of their flights from the PIA call centre by dialing 111-786-786.

An ATR-42 flight of PIA grabbed headlines on Sunday night when its pilot aborted the take-off of the Multan-Karachi flight.

The plane, carrying 48 people, was grounded because of some fault in one of its engines.

PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani told Dawn the pilot observed some fault in an engine and brought the plane back to the bay after informing the air traffic control. He denied media reports that flight PK-581’s engine had caught fire.

The incident had come five days after a PIA ATR aircraft went down near Havelian killing all 47 people on board.

At a press conference recently, the PIA chairman said that the national flag carrier had been operating 11 ATRs before the plane crash on Wednesday.

The ATR 42-500 is a twin turboprop regional aircraft that carries 48 passengers in standard configuration. ATR aircraft are capable of operations on both paved and unpaved strips. The engines are built by US manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.

The company has so far declined to comment while Pakistani authorities investigate the causes of the crash.

Six-member team arrives

A six-member investigation team arrived in Islamabad on Monday to help probe the PK-661's Havelian crash of Dec 7, sources said.

The team is comprised of three Canadian officials and three French officials. The officials belong to France-based aircraft maker ATR and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.

The team will travel to the crash site on Tuesday and examine the plane wreckage.

Comments (44) Closed

KB Dec 12, 2016 09:57am

Don't believe it. Really!

Philosopher (from Japan) Dec 12, 2016 09:59am

Better to ground whole PIA rather than just ATRs.

KB Dec 12, 2016 10:01am

Somebody ask CAA what is the maintenance schedule of these aircrafts who are the people do the maintenance and what action are taken over the maintenance reports. and please do the testing by taking only minister onboard.

Abdul Awaal Dec 12, 2016 10:06am

PIA should start horse services and buy white horses from SA.

JQ Dec 12, 2016 10:07am

PIA - once it was Pakistan airlines but then The Democratic airlines which only took the image and respect and discolor to PIA, No care given to PIA air crafts but only sharing done at high level posts, the revenue goes where , the Quota of jobs goes where and few days back the Govt was thinking to Privitze the National Airlines to some unknown.

Claps for the Democratic Governments .

SULAIMAN DHANANI Dec 12, 2016 10:10am

Good and timely decision! It is create inconvenience for the passenger travelling on these routes but safety comes first.

I hope the process will help to build re assurance and close the speculations floating around for past one week.

SULAIMAN DHANANI Dec 12, 2016 10:19am

Indeed a good decision part of the Pilot carrying flight from Multan!

Shah2u Dec 12, 2016 10:19am

All ATRs planes should now be ONLY used to pick-&-drop passengers from departure / arrival lounges to / from the respective terminals! Period.

cricket lover Dec 12, 2016 10:32am

Shame on PIA chairman and the govt. You are pathetic Should have done earlier to save precious lives.

khanm Dec 12, 2016 10:36am

how i wish if you would have done that earlier..Probably the disaster would have been avoided...There are no greater treasures than the highest human qualities such as compassion, courage and hope. Not even tragic accident or disaster can destroy such treasures of the heart.

FAROOOQ Dec 12, 2016 10:35am

Wonder why ... Maybe , we should have continued to hope that the planes could continue flying on single engine. And yes, how can you ignore the fact that these planes can also glide....whats there to worry about. Stop the hysteria.

A Khan Dec 12, 2016 10:50am

Our elite wake up when a major disaster happen and often in reactive mode. PIA management should have been doing these detail check on regular basis rather than waiting for the crash to happen. They are not sincere with their jobs.

Israr khan ismailzai Dec 12, 2016 10:56am

I think this govt should be grounded for destroying all the institutions.

Dr. Siddiqui Dec 12, 2016 11:00am

Hiring and promotions in PIA & CAA should be done on the basis of merit and professional requirements rather than nepotism & political pressures!

To prevent future disasters PIA should be De-politicized! And in CAA no PIA personnel should be allowed to work on deputation to prevent conflict of interest!

taha Dec 12, 2016 11:11am

No railways for poor. No food for orphans. no justice for needey. and now CAA will look into ATR with politicall allaince. What a joke!

Shaheryar Dec 12, 2016 11:14am

The families of the victims should file criminal charges against PIA, CAA and the minister for aviation!

DIL DIL PAKISTAN Dec 12, 2016 11:18am

Late but good decision

AW Dec 12, 2016 11:42am

The entire fleet of PIA should go through a comprehensive examination by the respective aircraft manufacturers.

Additionally, a complete review of PIA's maintenance and engineering organization must be conducted by an international team of subject matter experts which must include re-engineering of processes as well as thorough examination of the credentials and qualifications of all PIA engineers and maintenance workers.

Employment of the Staff with substandard credentials needs to be terminated and the aircraft with risky elements need to be retired and permanently grounded.

kanwarch Dec 12, 2016 11:52am

PIA current state is a direct result of fruits of democracy in this country. The other notable achievements of democracy include the demise of Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steel and list goes on. All the politicians have grown rich and richer and country has become poor and poorer but democracy should stay in its present state for the welfare of political parties and their cronies. Lets see how long this experiment continues. Democracy means accountability, integrity and transparency which is non existent in this country.

Mohajir Dec 12, 2016 12:00pm

Bring Srilankans, Arabs or Chinese to run PIA

Dr. Khan Dec 12, 2016 12:07pm

The demise of merit in the country has led to this situation, for country to move forward and come at par with pace of progress required fort he 21st century, the domicile system must be abolished!

The end is near Dec 12, 2016 12:20pm

Criminal negligence of PIA caused rhe deaths of innocent passengers including the sad death of famous Pakistani celebrity Junaid Jamshaid. PIA should be sued for the lack of safety standards, mismanagement, incompetence, nepotism and deep-rooted corruption. All these bad factors have literally turned PIA aircrafts into flying coffins. Therefore, Pakistani nation demands that the proofs of these ATR planes shakedown tests (video proofs) must be published and made public.

Viking Star Dec 12, 2016 12:26pm

We always "react" rather than acting smart. Accident happens, people raise questions, then authorities wake up from sleep and then we "think" about taking some action.

Sk Dec 12, 2016 01:11pm

Do not worry CPEC will solve this problem too and Pakistan will be the greatest nation on earth. CPEC is a game changer

nwa Dec 12, 2016 01:26pm

Let us see if PM and elite using this planes.

Jawad Dec 12, 2016 01:44pm

Now throw all these 10 old ATR into ocean and buy new ones.

kash Dec 12, 2016 01:48pm

Good decision by PIA. The atr French team is in Pakistan and will inspect all aircraft. I think people here are getting way over their head. This was a precaution and given recent events pilot thought best and got plane back from runway. I believe these planes are safe.

Basit Ali Dec 12, 2016 03:57pm

It is an honest request that we collaborate with the Chinese Airlines and I am sure if they hold the reins then we will be world leaders in Aviation again

Farooq khan Dec 12, 2016 04:11pm

@AW true, incompetence- greed in abundance, low integrity and sense of responsibility for a very challenging and demanding aircraft maintenance job.

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Dec 12, 2016 06:36pm

Good decision to restore the dwindling public confidence in PIA and its fleet of air-crafts.

Sukhera Dec 12, 2016 06:37pm

@FAROOOQ .If the one engine explodes midair and the wing holding the engine is torn apart,how the plane can glide? The plane can only gilde if its not structurally damaged. There have been a number of reports of engine fires before take off and after take off with other airlines who operate ATR planes. Some experts have suggested to ban these planes because of many fatal crashes. These planes cost less than one third of Boeng 737.Its a good decision to ground these planes untill we find out the causes of the crash and make sure remaing planes are fit to fly. The engine manufacturing Pratt Whitney and ATR experts are in Pakistan to help the investigation. They will find out what went wrong and how PIA engineers can detect these faults and correct them before flying. Its better to have a little inconvience than loss of human life and sorry. We have a network of roads and trains, let us use them untill this whole thing is resolved.Lets us leave it to the experts to decide.

Sukhera Dec 12, 2016 06:51pm

@The end is near .The answer is privatization of the airline and save millions of dollars annually. Its not the govt job to run airlines, they don,t have the expertise,just look at their track record. How can we lose money in millions of dolaara year after year with terrible service. All the successful major airlines are privately owned. Nepotism, political appointments and too many incompetent employees will go away. PIA has been bleeding for decades and we are putting bandages to stop it. Politicians don t have the courage to make the right decision for political reasons.

Usman Dec 12, 2016 08:17pm

Correction: bhoja crash was a Boeing 737 not an airbus 737. Airbus 737 doesn't exist.

Adnan Dec 12, 2016 08:57pm

i dont believe anything that the federal govt, punjab govt and sindh govt. does as action or says. Not a single thing.

in fact i am doubting that PIA and CAA officials will hinder this investigation. I am sure of it in fact.

Zulfi Dec 12, 2016 09:16pm

Although everyone has to die one day one cannot help feeling that the pilot, crew members, Junaid Jamshed and other passengers would still be alive if they were living in a rich country that can afford to change old fleet every 10 years or so (USA, Europe and Japan etc.) where aircrafts are properly checked and maintained by professionals. Apart from incompetence, poverty also lies at the heart of this tragedy

Sukhera Dec 12, 2016 09:38pm

@Basit Ali The Chinese airlines fleet consists of Boeing and European airbus. There is a shortages of pilots/mechanics due to fast expansion of the airlines and the shortage is filled with European and Americans. There are a few Embraer E-190 for short haul flights. They don't have ATR planes, so they can,t help maintaining these planes. Don't depend on China for everything and they can't solve all your problems. They are still in the learning process. Major Chinese cities are full of air Pollution which is out of control. You can hardly see the sun during the day.

Farooq Jawed Dec 12, 2016 09:54pm

This is nothing but a knee jerk reaction. While Pakistani fleet is grounded ATRs are flying world over. All this decision has done is given merits to the innuendos that PIA maintenance is below par. The aborted takeoff and the accident are two different issues and should be treated differently on merits instead of lumping them together. The consequences of this immature decision is hardships for ordinary citizens and that is a shame.

Hammad Dec 12, 2016 10:25pm

@Philosopher (from Japan) couldn't agree more. The whole system needs a shake up

factor Dec 12, 2016 10:44pm

What about the rest of the fleet? Waiting for an incident?

Syed Ahmad Dec 12, 2016 11:45pm

@Shah2u Or perhaps these ATRs should only be used to carry the government officials and politicians!

Lafanga Dec 13, 2016 12:26am

This is just for show. People are nervous to fly PIA and they are asking questions and this is the result of that. Expect the whole thing to be swept under the carpet in couple of months, peoole will forget and everytjing will come ti normal.

Ahmad Zubair Dec 13, 2016 08:07am

Is it not good to induct the new C Series Bombardier planes instead of these old and outdated ATR planes for domestic routes.

KT Dec 13, 2016 10:19am

Choose ar random two clearance engineers and make them travel on plane they clear for flight.

Sukhera Dec 14, 2016 01:26am

@Farooq Jawed . Its better safe than sorry. The reasons for the fatal air crash involving ATR plane are not known at this time. I believe Civil aviation Authority made the right decision to ground the planes until the investigation is complete. I don,t mind little inconvenience but I do appreciate that PIA is taking all the precautions needed to protect its passengers which is their primary responsibility. Its a general practice in the western countries to ground the planes of the same model if one plane crashes under suspicious/unknown reasons. We have a network of roads/ railways, getting there may take few more hours , its better to be late than not reaching there at all . The engine manufacturer and ATR experts are here to investigate the crash and very soon they will find out the causeuses of the crash. Their credibility and reputation is on the line. Crashes don't happen without causes, its better to find out exactly what happened, so that we can avoid them in the future.