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Petition asks PIA, CAA to present safety records of flights in court

ISLAMABAD: A day after the tragic plane crash near Havelian, the Supreme Court was requested to summon a complete safety record of both domestic and international flights operated by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The request was placed before the apex court through a petition filed by Advocate Babar Awan on behalf of Syed Muhammad Tayyab on Thursday.

Naming the federal government through the defence ministry, the PIA chairman and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) director general as respondents, the petition requested the court to order them to furnish the lease and purchase agreements of ATR-42 and Airbus A-320 aircraft and subsequent agreements regarding timely backup of supplies and spare parts.

At present, ATR aircraft are used for the northern areas, Gwadar, Bahawalpur, Sukkur and Moenjodaro.

The petition also requested the apex court to issue necessary guidelines or directions to the respondents for the protection of passengers by ensuring stringent maintenance and safety measures to keep the flight operations safe.

It regretted that due to alleged mismanagement and political inductions, PIA had become the world’s third worst air service provider with nearly 67 lethal incidents and killing a total of 1,036 Pakistani citizens over the years.

According to the petition, all over the world airlines carefully select and choose the best and safest aircraft for flight operations with agreements that backup supplies and spare parts would be provided

The petitioner claimed that the national carrier had not been abiding by these practices and this left room for “indulging in corrupt practices since substandard supplies were made in consideration of kickbacks and commissions”.

The petition alleged that in September this year, the CAA had reportedly put a conditional ban on ATR flights after receiving several complaints. All aircraft were grounded on the condition that they would be overhauled as per international standard operating procedures.

“But the high-ups in the government pressurised the authority to allow ATR flight operations, thus raising serious doubts on CAA’s role as a regulator,” the petition said.

“An ATR crashed in 2007 while landing soon after it reached Pakistan. All the aircraft were being flown recklessly without allegedly adhering to the security of the person,” it added.

It is a common knowledge, the petition said, that soon after the first ATR crash in 2007, the defence ministry told PIA not to buy any more ATRs but under the pressure from then prime minister Shaukat Aziz, 12 more ATRs were purchased.

ATR aircraft, the petition alleged, had a manufacturing defect which caused the engines to catch fire quickly, especially in coastal, hilly or dusty areas.

courtesy : dawn news

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