ISLAMABAD: 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.
It has been decided to keep all 10 ATR aircraft grounded till they are cleared after thorough examination, PIA said in a statement.
It 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.
An ATR-42 flight of PIA grabbed headlines on Sunday night when its pilot aborted the takeoff 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 said 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 PIA chairman recently 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.
Meanwhile, a six-member investigation team has arrived in Islamabad to help probe the PK-661 crash of Dec.7, officials said.
The team comprised 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 and examine the plane wreckage.
Following is a chronology of major air crashes in Pakistan or involving Pakistani planes:
May 20, 1965: A PIA Boeing 707 crashed on its inaugural flight while attempting to land at Cairo airport, killing 124 people.
Aug.6, 1970: A PIA Fokker F27 turboprop aircraft crashed while attempting to take off from Islamabad in a thunderstorm.
Dec.8, 1972: A PIA Fokker F27 crashed in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.
Nov. 26, 1979: A PIA Boeing 707 bringing home Pakistani Hajj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia crashed shortly after take-off from Jeddah airport.
Oct. 23, 1986: A PIA Fokker F27 crashed while coming in to land in Peshawar.
Aug.17, 1988: A US-made Hercules C-130 military aircraft crashed near Bahawalpur, killing General Mohammad Zia ul Haq and 30 others including Pakistani generals and the US ambassador.
Aug.25, 1989: A PIA Fokker carrying 54 people disappeared after leaving Gilgit in northern Pakistan.
Sept.28, 1992: A PIA Airbus A300 crashed into a cloud-covered hillside on approach to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. Feb.19, 2003: An air force Fokker F27 crashed in fog-shrouded mountains near the northwestern city of Kohat, killing air force chief Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali, his wife and 15 others.
Feb.24, 2003: A chartered Cessna 402-B carrying Afghan Mines and Industries Minister Juma Mohammad Mohammadi, four Afghan officials, a Chinese mining executive and two Pakistani crew crashed into the Arabian Sea.
July 10, 2006: A PIA Fokker F27 bound for Lahore crashed into a field.
July 28, 2010: An Airblue Airbus 321 operated by the private airline Airblue flying from Karachi crashed into hills outside Islamabad.
Nov.5, 2010: A twin-engine plane operated by Pakistani charter JS Air carrying staff from an Italian oil company crashed shortly after take-off in Karachi.
Nov.28, 2010: At least 12 people were killed when a Russian-made Ilyushin IL-76 cargo plane crashed Karachi.
April 20, 2012: A Bhoja Air Airbus 737 from Karachi came down in bad weather near Islamabad.