CAA official elected to Cessair despite past crashes
KARACHI, July 16: While at least five aircraft crashed and engines of numerous others developed faults during flight over the past couple of years, an official of the Civil Aviation Authority responsible for airworthiness of the aircraft operating in Pakistan has been elected a member of the Commission of Experts of Supervisory Authority of International Registry (Cessair) for a second term, it emerged on Monday.
“Engineer Munawar Jamal Qureshi, director for airworthiness, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority, was elected member of Cessair under the International Civil Aviation Organisation council consecutively for the second term by the president of ICAO council,” says a statement issued by CAA spokesperson Pervez George.
It adds: “Pakistan is a member state who have signed and ratified to the Cape Town Convention ‘Aircraft protocol’ that deals in mobile equipment on matters specific to aircraft equipment.”
Responding to Dawn queries, Mr George said the primary function of Mr Qureshi’s department, airworthiness directorate, was to ensure that the aircraft operating in the country remained airworthy all the time and that he had been serving in the department for the past many years.
Sources said that at least five aircraft, including two passenger airplanes, had crashed over the past couple of years. Four of them had flown from Karachi, where the CAA headquarters and Mr Qureshi’s office are located. The fifth one crashed in Lahore, added the sources.
In July 2010, they said, an Airblue passenger aircraft that flew from Karachi crashed in the Margala Hills in Islamabad, killing all the 146 passengers and six crew members. Then in November 2010, a charter aircraft of a local company, Jehangir Siddiqui, with employees of a multinational oil company onboard, crashed shortly after it took off from Karachi airport. The same month a Khartoum-bound Russian-made cargo plane, Ilyushin IL-76, operated by Georgian airline Sunway, crashed seconds after
taking off from Karachi, killing eight crew members and four men on ground. In February 2012, a training plane of Hybrid Aviation that flew from Walton Airport, Lahore, crashed into a Model Town house killing both the instructor and the trainee
pilot. In April 2012, a Boeing 737-200 aircraft of Bhoja Air carrying 121 passengers and six crew members crashed near Islamabad airport, killing all the 127 people onboard, added the sources.
Besides, they said, engines of a number of PIA planes, particularly ATRs, had “stopped and gone off” during flight over the past couple of years and it had been sheer luck of the passengers that they surived. The engines of training aircraft of Schon Air had
also developed faults at least thrice over the past few months but luckily the aircraft landed safely, said the sources.