Explanation sought on letter about crashed PIA plane’s pilot

The Pakistan government has sought an explanation from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for writing a letter to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which suggested the pilot of the plane that crashed in Karachi did not follow the instructions of air-traffic controllers (ATC).

“We have sought an explanation from the CAA official (for writing a letter to PIA implying that the pilot of the PK-8303 flight did not follow the instructions of ATC,” said Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan at a press conference on Thursday.

“As long as the inquiry report is not finalised, the official in question should not have spoken up (publicly). Whatever the official/CAA had to say should have been told to the four-member inquiry board probing the crash.”

He was visiting the provincial capital to condole with the families of the PIA crew members who lost their lives in the air crash on May 22 that claimed the lives of 97 people, reports Dawn news.

The Minister said that perhaps the CAA thought whatever was written in the letter was correct.

“However, an explanation has been called in this regard,” he added.

The June 2 letter sent by CAA official Iftikhar Ahmed to the PIA’s safety and quality assurance department, while pointing out “non-compliance of ATC instructions” by the pilot of the ill-fated aircraft, had asked it to ensure that such a situation was not repeated in future.

The Minister said the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder were with the French team that visited Pakistan and data from the two recorders had successfully been downloaded.

The government would make the preliminary report about the crash public on June 22.