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Senate committee to review interim report on PIA crash

ISLAMABAD: A special Senate committee will hold meetings in Karachi next week to review the interim report on the Dec 7 crash of a PIA aircraft travelling to Islamabad from Chitral, which left all the 47 people on board dead.

Besides reviewing the report, the sub-committee of the Senate Special Committee on Performance of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) headed by Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) will also receive a briefing on the “operational, financial and administrative affairs” of the airline by the PIA management.

Senator Farhatullah Babar of the Pakistan Peoples Party and retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum of the ruling PML-Nawaz are the other two members of the committee which will hold meetings at the PIA’s head office in Karachi on January 4 and 5.

The crash of the PIA’s ATR-42 aircraft near Havelian had triggered a debate in the country on safety issues, forcing the airline to ground its fleet of the French-built and twin-engine aircraft for shakedown tests before allowing them to fly.

Five days after the crash, PIA chairman Azam Saigol tendered his resignation citing personal reasons.

The initial report on the crash prepared by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had reportedly suggested that the ill-fated aircraft had been flying smoothly at 13,375 feet when its left engine malfunctioned, exploded and damaged a wing, bringing down the plane in the mountainous areas near Havelian.

The aircraft had flown for 18,740 hours before its crash. The weather conditions at the time of the crash were normal, according to the report.

The pilot of the plane had extensive experience of flying in northern areas.

According to the report, the ATRs can glide even if both engines are switched off or have malfunctioned. However, an aircraft will fall freely if there is structural damage as hampered aerodynamics do not allow it to glide with gradual descent.

There is a possibility, therefore, that the failed engine had exploded and damaged the wing attached to it.

According to the report, the ATR 42-500 is one of the most recent versions of the aircraft. Its first delivery was made in 1995 while the plane in question was delivered to the PIA on May 14, 2007.

The aircraft had one instance of an engine failure, in 2014. The engine was replaced and since then, it had been operating smoothly.

A team of foreign experts from the ATR manufactures had visited the crash site to assist the probe team working to ascertain the causes of the deadly incident.

The members of the Senate committee would receive a briefing on “the prevalent aviation policy, including recommendations for any change” and on the long-term and short-term measures aimed at improving PIA’s efficiency, revealed the agenda of the committee’s meetings issued by the Senate Secretariat.

On January 5, the committee members are scheduled to visit various departments of the PIA to examine the working of the airline. The committee members have already sought information about the members of the organisation’s Board of Governors, including their educational qualifications and experience in the fields of aviation, finance, administration and management.

The committee has also sought details of the PIA directors posted in various departments, along with their experience as well as seniority position in the organisation.

courtesy :dawn news

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