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November 23, 2018

Senate body orders probe into new airport bridge collapse


November 23, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation called on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on Thursday, to conduct investigation into the recent collapse of bridge/jetty at the New International Islamabad Airport, co-opting with Pakistan Air Force.

The direction was given here in a meeting at the Parliament House with PML-N Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan in the chair. Among others, Senators Nauman Wazir Khattak, Moula Bakhsh Chandio, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, secretary Aviation, PIA chairman, DG CAA, chief meteorologist and other officials from the PIA, CAA also attended the forum.

The committee asked the CAA and PIA to undergo this investigation in addition to the board of inquiry which will be completing its inquiry of the incident by December 7. The committee expressed serious concerns over the incident and called for a thorough inquiry as well as a proper mechanism for regular maintenance and checking of all the jetties as it concerns life security of passengers and crew.

The forum was informed that the board of inquiry was considering the probability of design faults, human error, maintenance issues and communication which resulted in the incident. Senators called for a check whether there was a warranty protection clause in the agreement with the company from whom the jetties were bought and to check if these were first hand machinery or used.

The committee was told that after the incident on October 09 all the jetties at all airports across the countries were inspected. The committee called for an inquiry into the operating staff of the jetties and also about the utility of the training abroad which they were given for the purpose.

The issues being faced by passengers after the switching of PIA system from Sabre to Hit It also came under discussion. The PIA chairman told the committee that the ‘switch over’ had been opted for owing to the poor terms of the agreement due to which the PIA was paying huge amount of money to the US company for very little services.

He said that the new software provides better facilities for administration and passengers and will show results in a few months. The committee sought a comparative report after three months as to whether the number of complaints of passengers from PIA has changed for the better or not.

The matter of smuggling and money laundering through air traffic was also discussed in the meeting. The committee was told about the standard procedures and new steps being taken to ensure that no one from within the airport is involved in smuggling and money laundering.

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