They said that after Bhoja incident, CAA inspectors were inspecting PIA planes at eleventh hours due to which flights were getting late causing problems for passengers. Sources said that PIA has written letter to CAA authorities to check planes at the time of preparation when they were in hanger or apron to avoid any inconvenience to passengers.
A few days back, CAA has stopped a scheduled flight PK-709 of PIA to Manchester six minutes before its departure at 11:39 am from Lahore for a damaged seal which was covered under Minimum Equipment List (MEL) inspection. Similarly PK-751 Lahore-Oslo was also stopped on same grounds.
Both flights being Boeing 777 long haul with more than 700 passengers, were covered under Original Equipment Manufacturer’s MEL limits, a PIA officer seeking anonymity said. He said that when manufacturer of plane has given exemption to the airline with minor defect, who were these CAA inspectors to stop flights and bother passengers. He was of the view that CAA inspectors were not qualified as much as PIA engineers.
The MEL being a list of equipment which by manufacturers is declared safe to fly and not safety violation if the airline waits for the aircraft to return to base and get it rectified.
‘The said flight was available for the inspection since 9 am in the morning, but CAA inspectors deliberately annulled the flight on the pretext of inspection when all passengers were boarded and the plane was ready to fly,’ sources added.
Sources further informed that the worst part of this hindrance was threats of cancellation of licence of PIA by the General Manager Airworthiness of CAA. ‘The flight’s departure was endangered as the European airports apply curfew timing on flights arriving late in night, said PIA officer, secondly the delay also triggered the crew change as the previous crew’s flight duty times would have exceeded time-limit and their flying could have been declared illegal.
But this was perhaps not in the minds of the inspectors, as their sole purpose apparently was to inflict pains on both passengers and crew,’ sources said.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has seemingly become hyperactive after Bhoja crash but in a reverse way as it has started inflicting pains on passengers, another PIA employee reacted.
Sources claimed that PIA has requested CAA in this regard soon after Bhoja crash to conduct inspection timely to avoid any inconvenience and a meeting in this regard was also held between DG CAA and PIA senior officers a couple of days back.