Thursday April 18, 2024

PIA aircraft near-miss in Iran: Saad seeks immediate report on incident

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
July 31, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has sought a report from officials concerned on an immediate basis about the reported descent of two PIA aircraft in Iran’s airspace on Sunday last (July 24).

Federal Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has asked for the report within a day about the incident. Earlier on Saturday, Iran’s aviation chief reminded that a near miss between two Pakistani aircraft flying in the Iranian airspace on July 24 was due to an unauthorized decision by the pilot of one of the aircraft to descent to a dangerous altitude. Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) President Mohammad Mohammadi Bakhsh criticised as “unprofessional” the remarks made this week by a PIA spokesperson who blamed the near miss on human error by Iranian air traffic controllers. He said the pilot of one of the flights that was bound for Peshawar had misunderstood Iranian air traffic control signals and decided to drop to an altitude that could have led to a collision with another PIA flight bound for Dubai. “We have the transcription of the conversation between the pilot and the country’s airspace control centre. The pilot had a false understanding of the controller’s advice and reduced his altitude without clearance,” he was quoted by the official Iranian news agency as saying. “We will take legal action on this issue in the international (aviation) organizations,” said the official who also serves as a deputy to Iran’s Transportation minister.

The comments come as the CAO is yet to announce the official results of an investigation into the alleged near miss between the two PIA aircraft. CAO officials said earlier this week that they were waiting for control centre documents and reports from the pilots for further investigation.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan had reportedly claimed after the incident that the pilots had managed to correct their path and avoid a collision based on warnings issued by a cockpit system.