Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan was briefed on May 22 that the Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) aeroplane, that crashed near the Jinnah International Airport, was in a ‘very good condition,’ and flown by an experienced pilot.
“The aircraft involved in the crash was 16 years old and was in very good condition. Captain Sajjad Gull was a senior most A320 pilot with extensive flight experience,” PIA Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik said during a detailed briefing given to the minister.
He said the plane was inducted in the PIA fleet on dry lease six years ago and had underwent its major A-check in March 2020. “The aircraft carried out eight flights since 21st March, 2020 when the domestic and international flights were suspended in view of efforts to control the spread of COVID-19,” an Aviation Division press release said.
Secretary Aviation Hassan Nasir Jamy briefed the minister about the details of the tragic incident received so far. He also informed the meeting that the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board had been given the task to carry out the aircraft accident investigation.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan expressed sympathies with the bereaved families of those who died in the plane crash and stressed the need for holding an immediate inquiry, following which an investigation team headed by Air Commodore Usman Ghani, President of Aircraft Accident Investigation Board, was constituted with the approval of the Federal Government.
The minister directed the investigation team to submit its preliminary findings within one month.
He also directed that five family members of each passenger of the ill-fated plane be provided air tickets to reach Karachi.
The PIA CEO informed the meeting that the Airport Hotel would be available for stay of the family members of the passengers of the ill-fated aircraft.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan underlined the need for giving ‘insurance compensation’ to the heirs of the plane crash victims on the ‘most immediate basis’.
The minister was scheduled to visit Karachi on Saturday to have a detailed meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority and the PIA Management, besides meeting the families of the passengers.
He would also visit the crash site and meet the residents of the houses damaged in the incident.
Later, Ghulam Sarwar Khan would hold a press conference.
Among others, the meeting was attended by senior officers of the Aviation Division, besides senior management of PIA and the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority via video link from Karachi.