Pakistan International Airlines grounded its fleet of ten European-made ATR aircraft days after 47 people were killed in a crash in northern Pakistan, the airline said on Monday.
Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-661 from Chitral to Islamabad crashed near Havelian on December 7th, 2016, with 42 passengers and 5 crew members onboard.
The aircraft involved in the accident was an ATR 42-500, serial number 663, registration AP-BHO. It had its first flight in 2007 and was delivered new to Pakistan International Airlines. In 2009, the aircraft was damaged during a landing attempt at Lahore but was subsequently repaired and returned to service. It sustained an engine failure in 2014, but the engine was replaced and no further problems were reported. By the time of the crash, it had recorded 18,739 flight hours since joining PIA’s fleet and had last undergone certification in October 2016.
“In view of Civil Aviation Authority’s decision of holding shakedown tests of Pakistan International Airlines’ entire ATR fleet, the airline has decided to keep all ten ATR aircraft grounded till they are cleared after thorough examination”, the airline said in a statement.
Temporary suspension of ATR operations will particularly affect PIA’s flights to smaller airports like Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Moenjodaro, Zhob, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Chitral, and Gilgit.
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