A thorough safety check conducted by non-Pakistani aviation experts last September brought shocking results to light, only now made public. The A320 inspected by the controllers was in poor technical shape and the pilots showed significant training deficits.
The watchdog’s findings confirm a list of grave shortcomings presented exclusively to CargoForwarder Global by PIA’s former CEO Bernd Hildenbrand, published on 19 November (Archive). He claimed
that the carrier is ill-managed, highly overstaffed, averse to reform and a self-service store for high ranking politicians, their clans and leading administration officials.
The results of the recent inspection of a PIA A320 passenger jetliner conducted in Dubai seems to prove Hildenbrand right.
Frightening infringement list
It was carried out by aviation experts on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates on 5 September. And these were the major shortcomings detected and objected by the members of the Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft inspection squad (SAFA): many unsecured or only loosely-tied freight shipments in the holds of the A320, an unfixed cargo forward net together with scattered passenger luggage. All this posing a potential risk to the aircraft, passengers and crew in case of a turbulence, warn the SAFA experts. Furthermore, the watchdog’s claims include damaged and delaminated windshields, badly fixed sliding windows, a wrongly stowed baby basinet and outdated airway manuals.
Alarming and highly disturbing findings!
In their summary, the SAFA squad members raised heavy reproaches against Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority and the carrier’s management. Both are lacking good governance and strict monitoring proven by the results of the A320 jetliner inspection in Dubai. According to the report through their negligence they have proven their incompetence to ensure that PIA flights are operated through technically well maintained aircraft with well-trained cockpit personnel aboard the carrier’s fleet.
Should the carrier fail to eliminate the deficits and improve its standards, it risks its international flights to be banned, threatens SAFRA in their report handed over to the Pakistani authorities.
Khan attempts shifting the responsibility to others
It is unknown at this hour if any actions have been taken by the PIA management or the country’s Aviation Authority to eradicate the identified deficiencies. Local media quote a letter written by PIA’S head of flight operations Uzair Khan to the carrier’s staff informing them that the “SAFA inspection index has risen to critical level,” risking disruption of international flights in case of further findings. His letter further reads: “in the light of the above, it is once again reiterated that strict adherence to standard procedures and company policies help avoid findings during inspections.”
People close to the case claim that words alone won’t end the widespread corruption, mismanagement, technical shortcomings and the many skill deficiencies of PIA pilots.