PIA suspends ATR operations pending aviation authority investigation

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has reported it grounded the operation of its fleet of 10 ATR aircraft pending an examination following the December 7 crash of the ATR 42-500 between Chitral to Islamabad, the company said.

All 42 passengers and five crew members on board perished. The airline said the aircraft´s flight data recorder has been recovered and given to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.

The Pratt & Whitney PW127E-powered aircraft – identified by ATR as MSN 663, with registration AP-BHO – was operating flight PK661 on 7 December when the incident happened.
The airline said both engines of the aircraft were fully operational at the time of takeoff from Chitral and a problem developed during flight.

The incident is being investigated by Safety Investigation Board (SIB), which is an independent body working under the aviation division.

PIA said temporary suspension of ATR operation will affect PIA´s flight operation to smaller airports like Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Moenjodaro, Zhob, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Chitral and Gilgit.

Pakistan International Airlines is a Karachi-based airline, which is the national flag carrier of Pakistan. Its main hub is Karachi with secondary hubs in Lahore and Islamabad.