KARACHI – Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) management has been given a nod by the authorities to use two-decades-old aircraft which were already grounded six months ago for Hajj 2017 operations beginning next month.
The planes are more likely to put passenger’s safety at risk.
Tribune, while quoting unnamed official sources reported Thursday that a recent letter from the PIA chief executive officer (CEO) to the federal secretary for aviation division has requested to use its three aging Airbus A310 and 300 aircrafts, in Hajj operations.
It is worth mentioning here that the plans have already spent their lives and had been grounded in December 2016.
To take this risky initiative, the PIA CEO has proposed exemptions from all safety checks for the aging aircraft and sought the federal government’s help to pursue and persuade Saudi authorities who don’t allow older fleet operations and have stringent aviation requirements.
“A fresh tender for up to two wide-body aircraft has been issued but the replacement aircraft may not be available with PIA,” the letter argues as a reason to use the out-dated planes.
To deal with the problem, the PIA chief’s letter suggests “a one-time relaxation in Aviation Policy 2015 allowing operation of aircraft older than 20 years for maximum six months beyond the threshold of March 2017.”
He also suggested that the aircraft be exempted from technical and safety checks and permission be obtained from Saudi Arabia aviation authorities.