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December 2, 2020

Who’s responsible for Havelian plane crash, asks SHC

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December 2, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed director airworthiness of Civil Aviation Authority to file comments about its procedure for issuing airworthiness certificates to aircraft.

The direction came on a petition seeking a judicial inquiry into the December 2016 flight of Pakistan International Airlines PK-661 crash inquiry in which 42 passengers, including singer-turned-preacher Junaid Jamshed and the crew, lost their lives in Havelian.

The SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, inquired from representatives of Pakistan International Airlines and Civil Aviation Authority as whether responsibility has been fixed on responsible persons after Aircraft Accident Investigation Board’s inquiry report.

The court observed that the plane was allowed to operate despite technical fault and who was responsible for such negligence. The representative of the CAA sought time to file comments on behalf of the CAA. The court directed him to file comments about the entire procedure followed by the CAA before issuing airworthiness certificates.

The PIA representatives submitted that at present there were six ATR aircraft in operation, two at Islamabad and four at Karachi. The PIA’s General Manager, Corporate Safety, submitted that PIA has installed flight data monitoring system with an alarm system that indicates when the pilot makes any error or commits a mistake.

Chief Technical Officer of PIA Amer Ali submitted the statement that they were complying with the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board safety recommendations. He submitted that PIA Engineering Department has reviewed and implemented a more restrictive maintenance philosophy on the old designed pre-SB21878 power turbine blades, thereby, changing their soft life interval of 10,000 hours to a hard life. He submitted that all PIA fleet of operating ATRs are installed with overspeed governors, certified after required inspection of the pin from its manufacturer in compliance with AAIB safety recommendations. The propeller value module (PVM) are properly maintained in accordance with service information letter issued on May 11, 2019 by company to elucidate any foreign object ingestion. He said that private foreign company conducted a facility survey in May 2018 for enhancement of its overhauling capabilities of PW-127 engines.

The court observed that representatives of the PIAC affirmed that they had enhanced their capabilities with due diligence for all compliance. PIAC officials stated that they were observing all pre-requisites of technical and maintenance issues in all aircraft/fleet of PIA and accepted the responsibility to ensure future safety and technical measures.

The petitioner produced a court copy of an email generated by UTC Aerospace Systems to PIAC on August, 29, 2012 about inspection of 563F propeller blade. He emphasized that the email shows that in some areas, the PIAC has no capability to perform all works but were interfering, leading to major accidents.

He said that it was reminded to the operators in email that they do not have the capability to perform all workscope and also several tasks of the major inspection are proprietary repairs that are performed only in an approved repair centre. He submitted that they also showed concern that they received blades FR20061049RT for repair, which was overhauled in December 2011 by PIAC.

The court directed the petitioner to supply a copy of the email to the PIA representatives so that they may also submit the current status and whether the concern shown in the email was attended and implemented and file the same by December 17. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board in its report on ATR crash incident at Havelian in December 2016, mentioned that the ATR’s failure sequence was triggered because of a fracture of turbine blade consequent to a procedure anomaly by the PIA maintenance.