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Pakistan

Web Desk
December 12, 2016
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PIA grounds all ATR aircraft after fatal crash; Chitral, Gilgit operations suspended

PIA grounds all ATR aircraft after fatal crash; Chitral, Gilgit operations suspended

KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has grounded the whole fleet of ATR aircraft till the ‘examination is completed’, the spokesman said on Sunday.

The statement stated: “In view of Civil Aviation Authority’s decision of holding shakedown tests of PIA’s entire ATR fleet, it has been decided to keep all 10 ATR aircraft grounded till they are cleared after thorough examination”.

Temporary suspension of ATR operation has affected PIA’s flight operation to smaller airports like Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Moenjodaro, Zhob, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Chitral and Gilgit.

Later, the spokesman announced that the ‘shakedown tests of PIA's ATRs have been started’. A team of comprising CAA and PIA's Quality Control Department is conducting the examination of each aircraft, he added.

The passengers of the northern areas are facing difficulties due to the suspension of operations as the land routes to these areas are closed in winter season and the air travel is the only viable option for them.

Meanwhile, a six-member ATR company's investigation team arrived in Pakistan to probe the fatal crash.

According to details, the investigation team included a manufacturing expert, a crash scene expert and other members. The team is comprised of three French nationals and three Canadian citizens.

A PIA ATR plane crashed last week just before landing at the Islamabad airport killing all 47 onboard including renowned preacher Junaid Jamshed and DC Chitral Osama Warraich and a second aircraft reported technical issues shortly before it was supposed to take off overnight.

ATR 42-500 aircraft:

ATR is a Toulouse, France-based turboprop aircraft maker and "the world leader in the market for regional aircraft up to 90 seats", according to the company´s website.

The company was established in 1981 and is a partnership between two European aeronautics firms, the Airbus Group and Leonardo.

Its ATR 42-500 is a twin turboprop plane that carries 48 passengers in standard configuration and is capable of operations on both paved and unpaved strips. The engines are built by Pratt & Whitney Canada, a division of the US manufacturer.

ATR has so far declined to comment while Pakistani authorities investigate the causes of the crash.

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