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Pakistan grounds all private jets for checks

April 24, 2012

Islamabad, April 24 — In the wake of last week’s deadly plane crash near here, Pakistan’s aviation authorities Monday grounded all passenger aircraft run by private companies in the country, pending checks on their airworthiness.

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said that no private plane will be allowed to fly unless the inspection process is completed. He also directed the airlines to obtain fitness certificates for their aircraft within three to four days.

Close on the heels of last Friday’s crash that killed 127 people on board, another passenger plane Sunday saw two of its tyres burst before landing. However, the pilot managed to land the aircraft safely.

In another incident, a plane in Lahore also reported oil leak. These incidents have prompted the authorities to inspect all passenger aircraft owned by private companies, Xinhua reported.

A Bhoja Airlines fight from Karachi last Friday crashed in a residential area, some 10 km from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport here, killing all 127 on board.

An initial probe into the accident suggests the plane’s engine had burnt before it crashed. It was believed earlier the pilot lost control of the plane due to bad weather.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said the inspection, which started Monday, will be carried out in stages and the planes of Bhoja Airlines will be inspected first.

The official added that technical problems in two other aircraft have raised concern about safety of private planes, which forced the CAA to launch an overall inspection.

Planes owned by Shaheen Air International and AirBlue carriers will also be checked, the spokesman said, adding that aircraft run by Pakistan International Airline (PIA) have already undergone inspection a month ago.

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