KARACHI, July 15: In the last few days two PIA aircraft were knocked out of action — one was hit by a catering van and the hydraulic system of the other developed a fault.
One aircraft was repaired in a couple of hours, but the other was partially repaired in about two days.
According to sources, the airline’s Karachi-Jeddah flight PK-731 was recalled on Sunday after it had left the bay and reached near the runway. Its cabin crew felt some strong smell, so they took the aircraft back to the terminal.
It was found that the aircraft’s hydraulic system had some faults and that the smell of burning oil, which is very pungent, had somehow found its way to the passenger cabin through the air ducts.
Repairs were being carried out and the aircraft, according to the PIA spokesperson, was scheduled to leave for its Saudi Arabian destination in the night.
The second incident occurred in Milan, Italy, when lower lobe loader (FMC) hit the aircraft near the forward cargo hold.
The sources said the maintenance personnel were called in to examine the damage and aircraft, B-777, was declared unserviceable.
Transit passengers for Islamabad-Paris were shifted to the hotel and transportation of passengers from Milan to Paris was arranged on different carriers. Joining passengers (Milan-Islamabad) were expected to be accommodated on the next PIA flight, Oslo–Milan-Islamabad.
PIA sources said that passengers traveling from Paris to Islamabad were of local destination and had been rebooked on the next PIA flight. Eight passengers were provided hotel accommodation because they had come from out of the city to join the flight.
Seven passengers, who were willing and were in an urgent need to travel, were endorsed on other carriers for Paris-Islamabad flight.
Meanwhile, the sources said that a team of PIA engineers was immediately dispatched to Milan to repair the grounded aircraft.
The sources said that since then these engineers, on the advice of the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, had carried out the local repairs which had been almost complete and the aircraft was ready to fly.
Boeing advised PIA to bring back the aircraft without passengers to Karachi where the major repairs as suggested by Boeing would be carried out.
The aircraft, according to the sources, was expected to arrive in Karachi on Monday and would be repaired at PIA’s engineering department.