Mismanagement, not fog, behind PIA flight schedule disruption at Lahore airport

Amraiz Khan

Mismanagement plays role more than that of poor visibility in disruption of PIA flight schedule at Lahore airport and across the country, said well placed sources in national flag carrier on Wednesday.

They said that a PIA flight Pk-305 supposed to depart on December 25 at 5:00 pm from Lahore airport to Karachi could depart at 2.15 AM early morning of 26 December. This delay was being attributed to poor visibility by PIA, which is not factually correct, because all other foreign airlines were landing and departing from Lahore on 25 December after 11 AM, till just before sunrise on 26 December, when visibility deteriorated.

This disruption in schedules from Lahore, apart from poor visibility due fog/smog has been aggravated by poor planning and scheduling of aircraft and their availability for the drastically reduced flight operations of PIA.

For this PIA management starting from former MD Arshad Malik and Board of Directors is solely responsible for the mess and sufferings of revenue paying passengers. The Category 3B ILS system was installed on Runway 36R at Lahore to specifically facilitate landing of flights in poor visibility. This ILS 3B system facilitates landing of aircrafts fitted with serviceable Automatic Landing capability to land with visibility of 50 meters. This same ILS CAT111B system is also installed at the New Islamabad Airport. All PIA aircrafts presently in service such as B777, A320/319 are equipped with this Automatic Landing Capability. Even the B747-300 which were in service of PIA and have since been grounded also had this ILS3 landing system.

The serviceability and calibration of CAT-III B is sole responsibility of CAA Pakistan which is administratively in-charge of all civil airports in Pakistan and they charge a gross amount, equal to, or more than many airports in the region.

Passengers are also levied taxes collected by CAA Pakistan to perform its regulatory control and ensure operational serviceability of all navigational aids including ILS systems and security of airports, including responsibility of bird hazard.