LAHORE - PIA has grounded its four B-737 aircraft in the context of intense pressure from Civil Aviation Authority, for inspections following industry reports on corrosion. Inspections have revealed corrosion in Keel Beam of the B-737 being used by PIA. Insiders within CAA claim that PIA has been evading these inspections for quite some time under mounting pressure from officials in Defence Ministry who in complicity with their retired fellow colleagues working at CAA, obliged PIA in this regard, jeopardizing flight safety. It is worth mentioning here that both Pakistan CAA and PIA have been responsible for jeopardizing safety of millions of passengers who have traveled on B-737 during the last two years by failing to comply with the modified directive of Boeing Company, sources in CAA confided to The Nation here on Saturday. CAA turned active after major inspections of Boeing 737 and 767 were ordered in Southwest Airlines and American Airlines by Federal Safety Inspectors in USA, leading to the cancellation of over 100 flights. Problems concerning PIA Boeing 737 fleet created an alarming situation after major flight control snags and collapse of a Boeing 737 Nose Wheel on ground. This has affected several domestic flights in the past two weeks. PIA faces a severe capacity problem following the unscheduled grounding of B-47 on 1st March 2008 and grounding of B-737. Sources concerned said that PIA has started operating B-777 and A-310 on domestic sector as a replacement of B-737. An aviation expert said that the use of B-777 which is designed for optimum use on long range sector becomes uneconomical when used on short or medium range sector because aircraft's landing cycles are likely to be exhausted before its hull (body) life hours, and when landing cycles are exhausted they involve modification which are costly. When this scribe talked to the spokesman of PIA, he said that the aircraft were grounded for inspections on the demand of CAA and not in the context of the directive of Boeing company, asserting that no such directive was received by PIA from the Boeing Company. He said that operation on domestic routes was being run smoothly and the PIA has replaced B-737 with A-310 and B-777. When asked about the landing life cycles of B-777 on shorter routes, he said that B-777 could be operated on the shorter routes as well.