AVIATION WOES

Over the past few years, numerous airline accidents and disasters have plagued the Aviation Industry of Pakistan. Pakistan, like any other country in the world, has a troubled history of air accidents that saw humans meeting painful deaths. But why?

MINISTRY OF AVIATION

  • There is not a single individual in Ministry of Aviation who has any educational qualification or experience in commercial aviation.
  • Secretary Aviation is generally a bureaucrat who does not have any experience in Aviation. Previously, Aviation Advisor to PM was appointed to address this shortcoming.
  • Ministry is totally dependent on advice of CEO of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and/or Director General Civil Aviation Authority (DG CAA).
  • Due to ignorance of the field, mostly decisions are made for the benefit of individuals who have stakes and positions.
  • Aviation is a dynamic field, but any matter sent to Ministry or DG meets the same fate which other matters meet, i-e, usual bureaucratic delays which results in bottlenecks in decision making.

CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY

  • Mostly Secretary Aviation is given additional charge of DGCAA which is not practical and CAA matters get delayed unnecessarily. Head Quarter CAA in Karachi and Secretary Aviation Office in Islamabad.
  • Post of DGCAA has been advertised several times, but without completing the selection process the chosen one is appointed. Neither a competent individual who understands commercial aviation is appointed nor any competent person from CAA itself is given a chance.
  • Posts of Additional DG and Deputy DG are given to individuals who have no professional experience in commercial aviation and cannot perceive its requirements. Such policies are made which do not promote aviation in the country, rather discourage them due to lack of understanding, impractical policies, and attitude issues.
  • It functions like a pure Government department and all airlines are aware of the requirements to get even legal work done.
  • If the positions of Adl. DG/Dy DG are to be given compulsorily to Air Force officers then at least an experienced person can be attached as an Advisor to them so that they are briefed properly before they take decisions, and also about the repercussions of their decisions.

CAA Mafia Exposed

FLIGHT STANDARDS DIRECTORATE

  • Since 2011 (after ICAO Audit) there was no Director Flight Standards (DFS) till 2020. Flight Inspectors were being utilized as Officiating or Acting DFS.
  • Finally, a DFS has been appointed who had earlier been terminated due to forging flying hours experience. His appointment is marred by ugliest form of nepotism since he does not meet the criteria and a case against his appointment is pending in court along with a case against appointment of Flight Inspectors.
  • Capt. Nadeem Hanif has been appointed as a Flight Inspector. He had multiple failures in his career as a pilot and has doubtful flying hours which is in everybody’s knowledge. But his wife is PTI MNA from Karachi (on reserved seat).
  • Capt. Masood Ilahi failed his competency check in Etihad and was appointed as a Flight Inspector illegally. He had failed CAA interview but managed through connections later on.
  • Another Inspector, Usmani, had deflated the tires while landing in Birmingham and was being fired by the airline but he managed to become a Flight Inspector.
  • Another one, Kazim Awan, managed to get himself positioned in Islamabad through connections. There is no inspector vacancy in Islamabad and therefore there is no such office there.
  • Flight Inspectors illegally charge an amount of US$ 250/day on weekdays and US$ 500/day on weekends from operators, which is over and above the normal printed fee which an operator has to pay to CAA. The number of pilot failures has risen exponentially due to this reason, because after failure a pilot has to be re checked by the Flight Inspector who has to be paid again. Being Government employees, Inspectors charge separately in Dollars and also conceal this additional income from tax authorities. Logically, they should be given foreign currency allowance admissible to other CAA employees and the operators should be billed by CAA and the amount should be received by CAA and given to Inspectors by CAA itself.
  • The professional competency levels of Inspectors are never checked candidly. CAA’s own policy dictates that they should not be checked by the instructors of operators over whom they have surveillance authority but should rather be checked by independent examiners. CAA wants everything to be done AT NO COST TO CAA, so they force the operators to just give them a clean report for the purposes of their Flying License renewal. It will be more realistic if the Flying Licenses of Flight Inspectors are renewed after their Simulator Checks are conducted by third party and their licenses are renewed like other pilots, or experienced pilots are taken on deputation from airlines.
  • If an operator inducts a new type of aircraft, even then the responsibility of training the Flight Inspector and its cost is put on the operator by CAA.
  • So CAA charges its own fee for every particular service, and the Inspectors charge separately in US Dollars. An operator is fleeced by CAA in every way. Such practices have been developed by which operators’ smooth operations can be hampered and large sums of money extorted.

AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTORATE

Scores of Airworthiness Inspectors have been hired. They are fresh Engineering Graduates and do not have a single day’s experience in any aviation related field. With unlimited powers vested in them, their main focus is to harass the operators by holding back aircraft at will and whim (Reasons are obvious!!!).

BREAKING NEWS: PIA Airbus 320 crashed

PIA Officials Cause Losses Worth Millions……

PIA slapped with a massive fine of over PKR 7 million

They do not have practical knowledge of commercial aviation, are given some courses at operators’ expense, and then act like a typical police man!!! Many flights get delayed due to their high handedness and unnecessary demands.

In case they get a flight delayed or demand change of parts at their sweet will and whim, there has to be a procedure where there is a check on them and a system of accountability needs to be established, so that they do not act arbitrarily.

PERSONAL LICENSING DEPARTMENT

  • It is a CAA requirement that the head of this department must hold, or must have held, the highest License being issued (ATPL). But ATCOs who need to be given a higher Pay Group are appointed against the rules.
  • Rampant corruption prevails. FIA investigated the issuance of fake licenses after charging lot of money by CAA individuals. Pilots were grounded and penalized but those responsible for issuing these Licenses were never even mentioned in any report.
  • CAA has not defined any syllabus for examinations and the whole system of examinations has been devised in such a manner that every candidate finds it more practical and convenient to just pay and clear the examinations held by Licensing.

CIVIL AVIATION MEDICAL BOARD

  • Doctors deciding the fate and career of pilots are hired on part-time basis on meager amounts. Medical Board conducted once a week only.
  • In advanced countries, doctors/hospitals are given guidelines and authorized to conduct medical examination of pilots and submit report to CAA, but in Pakistan nobody let’s go the power, authority, and benefits of his position.
  • The ECG machine and other facilities are most outdated but nobody can object to it.
  • The Air Navigation Order (ANO) is obsolete and advances in medical science are not incorporated in it. All doctors adhere to this ANO which is a source of trouble for pilots. When pilots are referred to renowned hospitals/doctors for tests they get astonished by the standards and practices of CAA Medical Board.
  • It would be better if the ANO is based on the recommendations of ICAO, or JAA/FAA rules and practices are followed.

COMMERCIAL AND ESTATE

Only a probe into the income and assets/lifestyles of people working in this department or have worked in it previously will reveal astonishing facts. A whole volume needs to be written. A JIT can only do the fact finding. Case of Islamabad airport will be a good start for the probe.

Major Air Crashes in Pakistan Aviation’s History

Deceased pilot being escape goated to save CAA??

AIR TRANSPORT & ECONOMIC REVIEW

Headed by a serving Air Commodore with no experience whatsoever in the field of commercial aviation. It gets very difficult for the operators to first educate and then get a decision, and in case of impractical decision, it becomes a hurdle in smooth operations.

SUMMARY

Civil Aviation Authority does not have a permanent head of the organization who has the experience of commercial aspects, despite that the Govt rules state that he has to have at least 20 years of AIRLINE EXPERIENCE (which has been amended as AVIATION INDUSTRY experience to accommodate people who do not have commercial airline experience).

Role of CAA is to promote the growth of civil aviation in Pakistan. A review of last ten years will reveal that CAA has grown in size whereas the airlines have shrunk and no new airlines/charter services/cargo services/ Tourism Promotion operators have been able to commence operations due to impractical policies and hostile attitude of CAA officials.

CAA performed well in the last IOSA audit in 2011. But since then the CAA has been managed on ad hoc basis, by ad hoc/ unqualified departmental heads, and with absolutely no system of accountability of anyone. As a result, aviation industry and airports are deteriorating whereas CAA officials are prospering.

PREVIOUSLY CAA WAS DOWNGRADED BY ICAO DUE TO DISMAL MANAGEMENT, AND NEXT IOSA AUDIT MIGHT RESULT IN SAME OUTCOME UNLESS SOME URGENT DECISIONS ARE TAKEN TO OVERCOME THE SIGNIFICANT DEFICIENCIES.

PIA and the inter-departmental politics continues

PIA: PK-785 delayed as only three cabin crew arrived

IMMEDIATE SOLUTION

  1. The Government needs to appoint an Aviation Advisor to Prime Minister.
  2. Establish a CAMP OFFICE of the Advisor in Karachi.
  3. Employ airline professionals (Minimum 3 Pilots, 2 aircraft Engineers, and 1 MBA with airline experience) on competitive salaries for the Camp Office. The team to be tasked to highlight deficiencies in CAA and provide Short term and Long term suggestions for improvement.
  4. Senior Appointments at Head Quarter, and appointments in Flight Standards, Airworthiness, Personal Licensing, and Medical Board to be reviewed and rationalized.

It is time that we stop absolving those in positions of power, within the aviation industry, through sham inquiries and commissions. Individuals at the helm of PIA, and especially the CAA, must be taken to task to the fullest extent and reach of our laws.

Till such time that the management of our aviation industry is not held accountable for the death of innocent civilians, we will not be able to avoid future recurrences of such tragedies.

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