Tourists planning to spend their holidays in northern areas after Eid are likely to face difficulties as PIA today grounded its four ATR 42 aircraft which will result in decreased flights to smaller airports, especially in northern areas.
These ATR planes are grounded for maintenance and overhauling during which these planes won’t be available for flights.
This is second lot of aircraft that PIA grounded with-in span of a week. Earlier five Airbus A310 planes were retired without citing any concentrate reason.
Today’s lot of four ATR planes were used for domestic flights from major cities (Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad) to smaller cities, including Gilgit, Skardu, Chitral, Turbat, Panjgur.
With today’s decision, flights to these smaller stations are going to get impacted.
Some of the passengers including government officials and businessmen will have to opt alternate way of transportation before and after Eid holidays as fights are likely to be affected from major cities to Multan, Gwadar, Sukkur and Nawabshah as well.
PIA official statement described that unavailability of four aircraft for flights will continue for next few weeks because they are being decided to overhaul to ensure safety and operational compliance as per instructions of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
“On the advice of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) PIA’s four ATR 42 aircraft have been temporarily grounded to ensure compliance with the latest Engine Overhaul protocols”, the statement said.
There ATR Aircraft will undergo a revision in Manufacturer Engine Overhaul Protocol; Some flights expected to be affected”, the statement said.
PIA has been overhauling Pratt and Whitney Engines of its ATRs as per overhaul protocol revision 32. Pratt and Whitney has recently issued a new revisions 33 and 34 which PIA has been advised to comply with immediate effect.
PIA itself will carry out this overhauling of the ATR aircraft because of expertise and certification facility it has been equipped with, granted by international bodies. This may not cost the airlines too much as compared with handing over project of overhauling to a foreign entity.
PIA’s total fleet include:
- 11 A-320 Airbuses,
- 11 Boeing- 777,
- six ATR-42 (four of which are temporarily grounded today)
- five ATR-72
- one A330 on wet lease.