Lot of rubbish is being published. without knowledge of vital flight safety requirements and pilots responsibility and the responsibility of the air traffic controllers in the control tower. According to Director General of the Met Department, two weather warnings were issued and duly communicated to the concerned Civil Aviation authorities. The Air Traffic Controllers on duty at Benazir Bhutto International Airport were surely duly informed of the bad weather prevailing at the time. The first weather warning was issued by the Meterological department at 3PM and the second at 6PM. Thunder and lightening was forecast and was being seen by the officials in the Tower, who should have advised and ordered Captain Afridi the Boeing -737 pilot to divert to Lahore or Peshawar. Air Traffic officials at Chaklala had the authority to divert the Bhoja flight. The Black Box, which has been recovered intact will reveal as to the advice about the bad weather given to Captain Afridi. If despite being informed of the very adverse weather at the time, Captain Afridi pressed on to land the aircraft, then he was fully responsible for the grave consequences and the death of 127 people. However if the Black Box reveals that the Captain was not informed, then the Air Traffic officials on duty at the time must be brought to justice for the grave loss life and property.

Benazir Bhutto International Airport has first class radars to guide and monitor flights. Evidence of the radar controllers will be vital to the evidence of dangerous weather prevailing at the time. The Air Blue Accident in July 2010 was avoidable. It was due to human factor-pilot error, and poor monitoring of the flight by inefficient radar and air-traffic controllers. In my article on the Air Blue crash, I had clearly established these facts. The enquiry had dragged on for months and years, for no reason at all. The Bhoja B-737 crash enquiries by a Judicial Commission and Technical Commission is in order. I hope time is not wasted.

The Bhoja Airlines B 737-200 was fully airworthy. It had flown for over two hours from Karachi to Islamabad, and was about to touch down when it suddenly went down as a fireball into the ground. The stories that the B-737 was hit by hail, and lightening and therefore exploded in the air are not logical. Thousands of Boeing 737 - 200, 300 and 400 models are flying with hundreds of airlines worldwide. Some domestic airlines in America have hundreds of these on their inventory. The B-737 had an outstanding record of technical reliability and flight safety. To say that it was a 27 year old jetliner and unfit for flying is based more on emotion than on the safety record of this fine aircraft. There should not be any witch hunting based on the ill conceived motive of tarnishing Bhoja Airline. Bhoja has a fine record of safety, when it was flying Russian passenger aircraft till 2000.

My reasoning is based on 30 years of flying experience, during which I have flown fighter and bomber aircraft. I have flown in overcast weather during Monsoons. I have flown over the Mediterranan and landed at RAF Base Akrotiri in Cyprus in bad weather. I have flown in weather over British, German, Turkish and Iranian skies. Flying is very safe, when airline captains are fully cognizant of the safety of passengers. Equally vital is the sense of responsibility or air traffic controllers and radar controllers. I hope we learn a hard lesson from two major airline flying accidents.



Lahore, April 23.