Islamabad: Pakistan Airline Pilots’ Association (Palpa) has claimed that violation of Air Navigation Order (ANO) is the main reason behind rise in air accidents in Pakistan.
“Pakistan has been witnessing rise in air accidents since 2010. It all started with Air Blue crash in Islamabad. Then Bhoja Air’s plane crashed and then PIA’s two planes crashed, while in between some accidents of foreign cargo aircrafts also happened.
“The key reason behind this surge in air accidents of Pakistani aircraft is sheer violation of ANO since 2010,” said Capt. Imran Narejo, General Secretary Palpa.
He said that in 2006 during the Musharraf’s period Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) released ANO 91.0012 (dated May 25, 2006). The section 8 of this ANO reads as “An operation shall establish stringent limits of its own and shall not term the limitations provided herein as normal operating hours. This shall prevent crew fatigue, stretching to the limits and shall ultimately prevent frequent application for extensions to flight and duty time limitations (FDTL)”.
“The said ANO issued by Director General CAA Pervaiz Akhter Nawaz limited the flight time to 14 hours and duty period to 16 for double crew,” he added.
But in 2011, he added, acting DG CAA Riaz-ul-Haq issued ANO 91.0012 issue 5 in which the said section 8 of the previous ANO was deleted despite strong reservations showed by Palpa.
“Captain Mohsin Malik, a representative of Palpa, showed reservations on the deletion of Para 8 (FDTL) of ANO-12 issue 3-A and stated that the justification lies in the paragraph itself,” said Narejo.
Yet, he added, the then Director Flight Standard (DFS) and PIA’s representative Captain Salman did not agree with Mohsin’s reservations so this was the beginning and the said violations continued till 2017.
In 2017, he added, this issue was resolved by DFS Captain Arif Majeed as he corrected the FDTL in the version 6 of the ANO implemented on January 1, 2018.
“Yet again, aviation secretary in the Nawaz Sharif’s government stopped this rectified ANO on the complaints of Air Blue and PIA,” he added.
The CAA through a notification (Ref HQCAA/1077/023/FSAC) dated January 26, 2018 titled Abeyance of ANO-012-FSXX-6.0 stopped the implementation of the said corrected ANO version 6.
The notification stated that “On the instructions of the Competent Authority ANO-012-FSXX-6.0 held in abeyance till consultative process with all operators is completed”.
Hence, the notification reads, the ANO 91:0012 (Issue V) dated April 7, 2011 will remain enforced till that time. “Now, we are operating our aviation system under this violated ANO,” he added.
He said that the violation of this FDTL clause has reached its peak in the recent times when the current Chief Executive of PIA offered if any pilot would voluntarily like to work even after completing his 12-hour duty.
“This is why PIA recently operated an international flight with the crew completing 24 hours of duty, which was a sheer violation of FDTL clause. This violation is increasing the fatigue of the crew,” he reasoned.
On the other hand, he added, one of the important barriers to this violation was the ‘working agreement’ between Palpa and PIA but it is not being honored by the current administration of the national airline.
“This non seriousness with crew fatigue may have been behind many incidents in recent past including the tragic incident of plane crash in Karachi in which close to hundred people lost their lives including the crew.
“It is high time that the ANO of 2006 should be fully restored while the working agreement of Palpa and PIA should also be honored in order to put a stop on this horrific spree in our aviation system,” demanded Narejo.
Otherwise, he added, we would continue experiencing such tragic air accidents resulting in the loss of precious lives, expensive airplanes, and competent crew.
There is an urgent need that CAA should enforce strict flight safety measures guaranteeing FDTL without considering any political interference to honor its mandate of safeguarding Pakistan’s aviation system.