Pakistan Aviation Authority Says PIA Pilot Ignored Air Traffic Control

Pakistani aviation authorities have told Pakistan International Airlines that the pilot of a passenger plane that crashed into a residential district of Karachi last month had ignored air traffic control’s instructions for landing, a PIA spokesman said on Wednesday.

The PIA Airbus A320 crashed on May 22 while trying to land after the pilots reported the loss of both engines. Ninety seven people on board were killed and two survived. At least one person was reported to have died on the ground.

Initial reports suggested the plane scraped its engines along the runway on a first attempt to land following what appeared to be an unstable approach, arriving steep and fast.

In a letter sent to PIA, the Civil Aviation Authority said an approach controller twice told the pilot to discontinue its approach as he came into land but he did not comply.

As it neared landing, the plane’s ground speed was above the runway threshold, the letter quoted the controller as saying.

It lifted up from the runway surface and crashed over Model Colony while attempting a second approach, the letter said.

“Yes, we have received the letter, they are documenting it,” Abdullah Hafeez Khan, PIA’s general manager for corporate communications told Reuters.

He declined to comment on the assertions made in the letter.

The flight had been observed as being high for approach at as it passed Makli, about 100 km east of Karachi, but the pilot said he was comfortable for the descent, the letter said. He was also cautioned a second time.

The plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data box are being decoded in France by French air accident agency BEA.

Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that an initial report on the crash will be presented to parliament on June 22.

Aviation safety experts say air crashes typically have multiple causes and it is too early to determine the reasons behind the air disaster, which is Pakistan’s worst since 2012.


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