ISLAMABAD - PIA Chairman Azam Saigol has resigned from his post for personal reasons, Airlines sources confirmed yesterday.

According to AFP, the chairman has resigned following a fatal plane crash that killed 48 people last week, one of the country’s deadliest air disasters.

Muhammad Azam Saigol tendered his resignation on Monday due to personal reasons, PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani told AFP, but declined to comment further.

Saigol’s resignation came after a Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed into a mountain on the way to Islamabad from Chitral after one of the aircraft’s two turboprop engines failed, killing everyone on board.

On Monday PIA grounded its 10 remaining ATR turboprop planes for thorough testing in the wake of the crash and another incident in which a plane was recalled to its parking bay after experiencing a fault just before takeoff at Multan airport.

“The process of carrying out shakedown tests of PIA’s ATR aircraft has now started. CAA and PIA’s Quality Control department are taking part in this thorough examination in which PIA’s all ATR aircraft will be inspected one by one,” a PIA statement said Monday.

ATR is a Toulouse, France-based turboprop aircraft maker and “the world leader in the market for regional aircraft up to 90 seats”, according to the company’s website.

The company was established in 1981 and is a partnership between two European aeronautics firms, the Airbus Group and Leonardo.

Its ATR 42-500 is a twin turboprop plane that carries 48 passengers in standard configuration and is capable of operations on both paved and unpaved strips. The engines are built by Pratt & Whitney Canada, a division of the US manufacturer.

ATR has so far declined to comment while Pakistani authorities investigate the causes of the crash.

 

FRENCH PROBE TEAM VISITS HAVELIAN SITE

A six-member French investigation team on Tuesday visited Havelian and collected samples of various articles from the debris of the PIA’s ATR aircraft that crashed on December 7.

All the 48 passengers onboard the ill-fated aircraft were dead. Dead bodies, including of three foreigners, were retrieved and airlifted to the PIMS Islamabad.

So far 13 dead bodies have been identified following the blood samples given by the close relatives of the deceased. Blood samples of relatives of two Austrian nationals who also lost their lives are still awaited.

In a related development, PIA has requested the relatives of the victims to email any details of dental treatment, dental X-rays, colour of clothes or jewellery/ornaments the deceased were wearing on their last flight, at erc@piac.aero to assist the team of doctors working on the identification of remaining dead bodies.

According to PIA spokesperson, this process of forensic odontology is being carried out parallel with DNA testing and can help in early identification.

INP adds: The runway of Benazir Bhutto International Airport was closed, on Tuesday, after wheels of an airplane stuck resulting in a chaotic situation. The air traffic as well as the runway will remain suspended for further flights.

A flight from Lahore to Islamabad carrying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was diverted immediately following the incident. The plane was landed at Kamra Airbase also known as Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Minhas Airbase.