PIA grounds all ATR planes as CAA orders shakedown tests

Published December 12, 2016
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.

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