PIA management has decided to fly two grounded A-310 aircrafts for Umrah pilgrims. This has raised many questions regarding the passengers’ safety. Reports suggest that the national airline is putting lives at risk for commercial reasons.
An aviation analyst, while commenting on the matter, said that if the A310 aircrafts were able to fly, they wouldn’t have been grounded in the first place. Either the decision to ground them was wrong or the current one is an error.
The expert suggested that it’s possible that these planes were grounded to justify the lease for new A330 or A320 planes at above-par market rates. The aforementioned planes were leased at about 80 percent to 100 percent above the normal lease price. Other private airlines have also leased the same planes at nearly half the price.
The real question here is whether the A310 aircrafts are safe for travel even after maintenance. If the planes could have been used with minor repairs, they would not have been grounded for so long.
“Investigation needs to be carried out on who hired or recommended Bernd Hildenbrand and if the planes are really safe for travel, then some VIP flights should be operated on these A310s.”
PM’s advisor recently asked CAA to focus on more commercial ventures, which is odd since a regulatory authority should technically remain distant from anything of this sort. Even now, CAA is one of the most profitable state-owned corporations.
PIA spokesperson, Daniyal Gilani said “To meet the increased demand during Hajj 2017, PIA is considering various options, including the repair of grounded A-310 aircraft.” However, he informed the media that final decision has not been made in this regard and that the aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, will be contacted before taking any decision.
Considering PIA’s previous attempts at reducing expenses while putting passenger safety at risk, it’s hard to believe anything will change any time soon. It has to be noted that the same board of directors which approved the sale of an A310 at scrap price will be making the decision on the remaining A310 aircrafts.