LAHORE  - Despite the warning of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regarding failure of the engineering administration in PIA, the airlines management has appointed Maqsood, a controversial officer, as director engineering, said sources in CAA on Wednesday.

They said Rao Qamar Suleman, after becoming the PIA chairman, immediately removed the said officer from the post of director engineering and sent him to surplus pool as an OSD on May 25, 2012, but no inquiry was initiated against the officer into the SAFA ban imposition and suspension of EASA Part-145 approval.

First SAFA ban was imposed on the PIA fleet in 2007 when director engineering was Air Vice Marshal (r) Iftikhar GuI and chief engineer line maintenance was Maqsood Ahmed. It is beyond any doubt that a person from a non-commercial institute cannot have much understanding of different aspects of running a commercial airline. This resulted in the first SAFA ban on the PIA fleet. The chief engineer responsible was just transferred to engineering business development, but reinstated as chief engineer line maintenance within a few days.

After imposition of the SAFA ban, management changes were made and AVM (r) lftikhar Gul was removed from the post of director engineering and Tariq Farooq replaced him. A team was constituted to work, exclusively, on the SAFA ban removal. The determined efforts made it possible and EU lifted the ban in the same year (2007). The man who made efforts for the lifting of the SAFA ban was removed from the post of director engineering and reverted as chief engineer.

Maqsood Ahmed took the charge as director engineering in 2008. It was the time when PIA Engineering was holding EASA Part-145 approval and there was no SAFA ban. Due to mismanagement, deterioration started again, posing a threat of second SAFA ban and suspension of EASA Part-145 approval. No appropriate action was taken by the engineering management to improve the declining situation and get the EASA approval suspension restored. As a result, the European Aviation Safety Agency finally suspended EASA Part 145 approval in March 2012, depriving PIA engineering of certification privileges of third party/foreign customers.

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority issued a letter bearing reference HQCAA/2221/199/AW dated 22 May 2012, pointing out the failure of the then director engineering. The letter speaks, “It is the primary responsibility of director engineering to ensure the smooth operation of engineering activities in line with rules and regulations of local and international aviation regulatory bodies”.

Now the PIA management, vide notification dated 22nd February 2014, has posted Maqsood Ahmed as supernumerary director engineering once again to take the charge as director E&M on the retirement of Saminuddin Naqvi, presently working as director engineering.

When contacted, spokesman for the airlines, Mashhood Tajwar, said Maqsood was not responsible for the failure of the engineering administration and that transfers/postings were a routine matter.