Thursday, July 12, 2012

Editorial: Another plane crash - Pakistan

By Editorial 
Published:  July 10, 2012

It seems instances of plane crashes, whether passenger or trainee, are becoming so common now that the situation is getting worrisome. On Thursday evening a trainer aircraft, a Cessna, owned by a private company crashed at a jogging park near Walton Airport, Lahore. Thankfully the trainee pilot, a young woman, was only slightly injured — she was lucky. The last time such an incident occurred was some five months ago when another Cessna crashed in the garden of a private residence in Model Town. In that tragic accident both the trainee pilot and the trainer were killed. The fact that such incidents can occur so often and with such horrific consequences ought to raise some eyebrows and, more importantly, concerns.

The fact remains that these aircrafts and their hangars are owned by private individuals and the authority of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) does not fall within their jurisdiction. Even though the CAA has ordered an investigation into this latest incident, one expects the private parties behind these crafts to step up and take responsibility. Such accidents shed light on the fact that the small airports where these planes are parked and where their pilots carry out their exercise runs are all in urban areas, terrifyingly close to peoples’ residences. As the accident that happened two months ago demonstrated, the backyards and homes of those belonging to such neighborhoods should always be braced for impact, rendering their lives in constant danger. Urgent steps need to be taken to move such flight risks as far away from urban areas as possible; the CAA ought to look into this matter if the private owners do not.

Another glaring aspect is the fact that aircraft crashes are now becoming routine. From the tragic Air Blue crash that killed all 146 passengers some two years ago to the Bhoja Air crash that killed all 127 on board in April to these two Cessna crashes, something is going wrong somewhere. Clearly standards are not being met and quality is being compromised. Basic rules are not being followed and responsibility is being shunned. The aviation industry in Pakistan is taking a hard knock and it seems no one could care less. There is a set benchmark all over the world where airlines make sure that their craft are safe, their crew are up to speed with all necessary precautions and those on the ground are responsible enough to see each flight through. Apparently, in Pakistan all these guidelines are being dismissed as irrelevant.

 The CAA must hound the private owners to conform to the required standards so that more lives are not lost due to carelessness and tragic nonchalance.


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