NATO’s C-130 responsible for Airblue crash?


KARACHI – The crash of Airblue’s Airbus 321 airplane near Islamabad on July 28 last year, which killed all 152 people onboard, could be attributed to a number of violations, Aviation Department sources told Pakistan Today on Monday. When the aircraft was asked to go and hold north of the airfield at Islamabad airport, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) had actually given take-off clearance to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) C-130 aircraft, which took 8 minutes to line up on runway number 12 and take off, the sources said.
The sources said further that at the same time Radar Controller Squadron Leader (r) Mukhtar Ahmed had warned the air traffic controller in the tower that the A-321 was moving into the no-go area and it should be immediately told to come back. Since the NATO aircraft was already on the runway, the air traffic controller delayed calling the A-321 back, which was the main reason aside from the murky weather that the aircraft flew into Margalla Hills and crashed.
This action was a gross violation of international aviation rules because landing aircraft always had priority over aircraft preparing to take-off, aviation experts said, adding that this violation was the obvious reason of the A-321 crash and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was completely to blame. Sources said that the rule of landing priority was also laid out in the Jeppesen Manual, which contained aviation rules every controller was supposed to be fully aware of. The CAA had deliberately concealed the recording of the conversation between the control tower and the plane in order to avoid blame, they claimed.
CAA Board of Investigation President Air Commodore Khawaja Abdul Majeed was heading the inquiry committee of the crash, sources said, adding that the inquiry committee had the cockpit voice recorder and audiotapes from the air traffic and radar controllers. CAA Spokesman Pervaiz George said the investigation of the crash was still going on and the authority was not in a position to say when it would be completed


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