CAA grounds four Shaheen Airlines aircraft

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KARACHI, Jul 17: Just days after grounding private airline Air Indus over safety issues, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has moved against Shaheen International Airline (SAI), barring Pakistan’s oldest private carrier from operation four of its aircraft over similar concerns.

The country’s aviation regulator took the step after one of SAI’s Boeing 737 passenger aircraft broke down on the runway of Quetta International Airport on Thursday while landing. The plane was carrying passenger from Islamabad.

“That led to a three-and-a-half-hour delay in the flight of Fly Dubai,” said Pervez George, the CAA spokesperson. “We have been warning Shaheen Air for weeks to fix issues with their aircraft but they were not listening. CAA will not compromise on safety of passengers.”

Pakistan has seen five aircraft crashes since 2006 in which 324 passengers and crew have been killed. None of the accidents involved either Air Indus or SAI.

The four SAI aircraft that have been grounded include two Airbus330s, one A320 and a B737. The jets have defects ranging from a faulty fuel barometer to rusting fuselage, officials say.

Last month, the CAA delivered a severe blow to struggling Air Indus when it forced the newest private airline to suspend operations for repeatedly failing to meet safety guidelines.

Even though Air Indus got a legal respite in the shape of a stay order from the Sindh High Court, the regulator stuck with the original decision insisting that lives of passengers are at risk.

“Shaheed was also repeatedly issued warnings. They just chose to look the other way. In the end we had no other option.” said the CAA official.

 

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