ISLAMABAD: The Chitral plane crash in which 48 people including Junaid Jamshed and his wife lost their lives could have been avoided if Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) staff had reported the aircraft failure in time plane.
On December 7, 2016, a PIA flight carrying 42 passengers and six crew from Chitral to Islamabad crashed near Havelian in Abbottabad district, killing all 48 people on board.
During a special audit by PIA’s engineering and maintenance department for the year 2014-2017, it was found that the airline purchased four PW127 engines from Pratt & Whitney, Canada in 2015. The aircraft, with engine AP-BHO (ATR) PW127, was damaged when landing in Lahore on May 30, 2009.
Its engine failed in 2014. The plane crashed on December 7, 2016 while taking off from Chitral to Islamabad. At the time of the accident, he had logged more than 18,700 flight hours.
From the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan (CAA) report on the operation of the ATR, it was observed that the CAA Airworthiness Field Officers reported shortcomings in the ATR that CAA Airworthiness Field Officers were not complying with PIAC’s management system, regulatory requirements and OEM recommendations. We do. ATR aircraft
In addition, the CAA report that engine health monitoring is key data on premature failure of PW127 engines indicates that PIA had 20 incidents of in-flight shutdowns due to failure of engine blades. high pressure turbine.
Additionally, many engines have failed due to turbine failure, bearing failure, high EGT (exhaust gas temperature), compressors surge, seizing of the wheels, the rotation shaft of the accessory gearbox, etc.
The total number of engine removal cases was 90 and most of the cases are attributable to all installed engines, the internal conditions of ATR locomotives by the tune-up inspection were also not properly carried out by the specialized PIAC staff.
Audit required records on maintenance history and maintenance history of ATR aircraft and their engines with financial implications that have not been submitted for review.
“The audit reveals that PIA’s engine and ATR aircraft crashed due to improper maintenance, quality assurance and airworthiness management system of the ATR aircraft, indicating checks weak internals,” the audit said.
Later, the matter was reported to management on August 20, 2018. In its response, management said that in accordance with Pakistani Civil Aviation requirements, engine data was sent to PWC for review and analysis. . PWC cleans all engines.
Audit however observed that the response was not defensible as it did not provide details of the maintenance schedule and actual maintenance carried out by ATR in the PIAC fleet nor did it support its response with supporting documentation.
The report further stated that the Chief Accounts Officer/Secretary of the Islamabad Aviation Division was invited to hold a meeting of the Department Accounts Committee (DAC) to finalize the audit report after incorporating management perspective, but the DAC was not led by the PAO until the finalization of the report.
The audit report revealed irregularities and losses amounting to Rs 20 billion.
The documents reported irregular expenditure for the repair of aircraft engines without competitive bidding, which resulted in irregularities of $126.8 million, equivalent to Rs. 12,681.53 million.
The management spent about Rs 12 billion on repairing 23 aircraft engines of different brands without launching an open tender, violation of PPRA rules, 2004. Moreover, one of the engines was at the beyond economic repair and was sent overseas for repair without any coordination and therefore wasted. transportation and payment of costs.
Another irregularity of $5.556 million was reported in the exchange expenses of four locomotives. The audit observed that management entered into a trade-in agreement and purchased four engines instead of PIA main locomotives from M/s Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&W) without an open tender with a financial effect of 5.556 million USD, therefore violated the rules of the PPRA. 2004.
The audit also observed that during the year 2017, seven locomotives were sent overseas for repair but were not collected within the normal engine repair time of three months, indicating a poor functioning and poor financial management.
In addition, the audit also observed that PIA purchased Automated Test Equipment Complex (ATEC) 5000 on July 13, 2007 along with essential items to test the Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) for the set of test programs (TPS). The machine was installed in 2015 and it had been idle since 2016, resulting in an idle machine worth Rs 162.8 million, equivalent to $1.628 million.
Similarly, two locomotives were repaired for the equivalent of $3.9 million at a cost of Rs 39.3 million, which were later declared surplus/obsolete.
It has also been observed that part of the inventory worth Rs 6.743 million has gone unused. Expired stock items were to be scrapped after write-off approval, which was also not done.
It was also observed that the management of PIA failed to recover the liquidated loss of Rs 28 million due to a significant delay in the recovery of various aircraft engines sent overseas for repair.
PIAC’s asset list shows that it contains individual parts of the aircraft amounting to Rs 5,360.20 million which are still unused in the warehouse, despite the fact that the aircraft was written off in 2005 -2016.
The audit observed that PIAC has not carried out periodic inspections and therefore there is improper asset management.
The audit also noted improper procurement of unregistered aircraft parts worth Rs 226.591 million.
PIA During the special audit of the Engineering and Maintenance Department, it was found that PIA. The management had not carried out any physical verification of the stores. Its inventory management is inadequate because the management does not use the method of identifying products by bar code. It was further observed that the existing PIA software, PIA Online Store System (POSS), has not been improved and updated for a long time. In addition, the services of a large number of employees of the IT department are not used optimally.
The audit observed that PIA has not carried out periodic inspections and therefore there is an excessive store balance beyond the prescribed maximum period. In addition, management did not make optimal use of inventory management software and IT professionals to reduce inventory carrying costs and obtain spare parts information, indicating poor management of poor inventory and poor internal controls within the organization. .
Speaking to this correspondent on the special audit, PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan said that on para commercial audit in plane crash, it is mandatory for the Accident Investigation Commission of Aviation or AAIB to investigate and report the causes. In the event of an accident only, they have the necessary expertise to do so. They have already published their report. It is now widely accepted that the event that led to the accident was a series of unfortunate events that followed one another and that no previous reports had led to the development of contingencies or procedures that would have led to the accident. The crew could have avoided the incident.
In the event of the engine being sent overseas for overhaul and attributable damage, it is the prerogative of the engine lessee to choose the MRO facility to do so.
There may be delays as PIA is a cash-strapped business and payments must be prioritized based on criticality and the most urgent need of an operational nature. Sometimes aircraft are grounded for long maintenance and the engine overhaul may coincide with the same or the aircraft may be fitted with new or leased engines until the overhaul is recovered. .
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022