RAWALPINDI: A team of experts of the Aerei da Trasporto Regionale (ATR), the Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer, has arrived in Pakistan to examine the ATR aircraft of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which was badly damaged after skidding off the runway while landing at Gilgit Airport on July 20.
The PIA’s flight PK-605 from Islamabad to Gilgit with 53 people, including crew members, on board had skidded off the runway and come to a halt in a grassy area next to the tarmac.
All passengers and crew members remained safe in the accident, but the pilot and a co-pilot were grounded pending an investigation into the incident launched by the Civil Aviation Authority’s Safety Investigation Board (SIB).
When contacted, PIA’s spokesman Mashhood Tajwar told Dawn that a team of ATR experts arrived in Islamabad last week to examine the plane in Gilgit.
“The experts will examine the plane and submit their report after their return to France about whether the aircraft is repairable or not,” Mr Tajwar said, adding that action would be taken in the light of the experts’ report.
PIA’s flight PK-605 from Islamabad to Gilgit with 53 people on board skidded off the runway and came to a halt in a grassy area
He further said that PIA had filed the insurance claim on an ATR aircraft which had been damaged beyond repair at Karachi airport.
He said the two pilots grounded after the Gilgit accident would be allowed to fly aircraft only after the safety investigation board allowed them to do so.
An aviation expert not wishing to be named said that the ATR aircraft damaged in Gilgit last month was beyond repair because its right side had been badly damaged.
The PIA spokesman said the organisation had a fleet of 12 ATR planes, but now only six to seven of them were operational.
When asked how much time would be required to complete the report on the Gilgit incident, the spokesman didn’t give any time limit but said it would take some time because the ATR team would go back to France and then compile a report.
An ATR plane’s flight (PK-661) crashed near Havelian on Dec 7, 2016, killing all 47 people on board.
A six-member investigation team comprising three Canadian and three French experts visited the crash site in Havelian to examine the wreckage of the plane.
The SIB had also launched an investigation into the crash, but its report is still awaited.
Mr Tajwar confirmed that the report on the Havelian plane crash was still to be completed, but a preliminary report comprising “precautionary comments” had been released by the authorities concerned.
Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2019