ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has grounded all of its 10 ATR aircrafts after the Civil Aviation Authority ordered shakedown tests of the planes, ARY News reported.
The directions came after (CAA) an ATR aircraft reportedly caught fire while on runway of Multan Airport before taking off on Sunday.
The PIA airplane PK-581 with 48 passengers on board was set to take off from Multan to Karachi when it suffered a blaze incident. However, no major incident occurred.
According to PIA: “It has been decided to keep all 10 ATR aircraft grounded till they are cleared after thorough examination.”
The statement 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.
ARY News correspondent Tahir Khan said sparking in the engine flared fire. This prompted the passengers to protest and complain against the PIA administration.
Rescue teams and fire brigade staff were immediately called and passengers were safely taken to lounge.
Questions begin to arise on aviation safety in Pakistan after one ATR plane PK-661, heading to Islamabad from Chitral, on December 7 crashed in Havelian killing 48 persons including religious figure Junaid Jamshed.
Families of the victims had staged protest in anguish against the PIA’s using ‘unairworthy’ aircrafts. While, the PIA officials have been claiming that PK-661 was duly checked and cleared for flying.
PIA spokesman dismisses media reports
PIA Spokesman Danyal Gilani said the aircraft operating PIA’s flight PK-581 from Multan to Karachi has been delayed due to some technical issues.
He said contrary to media reports neither of the two engines caught fire and pilots on the advice of Air Traffic Control decided not to take off and brought the plane back to the parking bay.
“On the directions of Chief Operating Officer PIA, the plane has been temporarily grounded as a precautionary measure. A team of engineers is being sent to Multan and aircraft would be made operational after its clearance,” he said.
Danyal Gilani said the passengers coming from outstation are being provided hotel accommodation till the next available flight.