Aviation experts blame CAA for all ills


Experts of the aviation industry have called the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan the mother of all ills plaguing the crucial sector of the country. They believe that the judicial commission was merely an eyewash, as it could not conduct a transparent and independent inquiry.
The experts said the CAA ignored all local and international aviation regulations in giving a go ahead to Bhoja Airline to conduct operations.
They pointed out that Bhoja Airline applied to the CAA for restarting its operations in November 2011 when it had only two aircraft, while the CAA laws indicated that no airline could start operations unless it had a fleet of four aircraft – three for routine operations and one at stand-by.
Sources said the airline got its third aircraft in January 2012 and the fourth aircraft, which was shown in documents as parked somewhere in Dubai, had not reached Pakistan yet. However, in connivance with CAA officials and with due political influence, the airline successfully got an approval for starting its operations, which proved fatal for several families.
They also highlighted that Bhoja Airline was a defaulter and had got a stay order from the Sindh High Court. The CAA should approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan instead of giving a go ahead to start operations, they maintained.
Aviation experts underlined that the primary role of the CAA was to protect the interest of passengers and cargo companies, but in the case of Bhoja Airline, the CAA also set aside the major responsibility and gave licence to the airline for restarting operations.
The experts added that under CAA rules, it was mandatory for all airlines operating in Pakistan to make insurance arrangements with renowned insurance operators in the country, but Bhoja Airline submitted an insurance cover of some unknown Russian underwriter, which offered merely half-a-million rupees of insurance cover per passenger, they maintained.
Commenting on the inquiry commission, they expressed doubts about its transparency, pointing out that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had already said that the management of the Bhoja Airline, including its Managing Director Arshad Jalil, would have representation in the commission along with two retired judges.
“Why do you expect the investigations to be transparent when the accused whose family had 80 percent stakes in the airline will be part of the commission?” they questioned.
In addition, sources pointed out that when same officials were sitting in offices of the Defence Ministry, Interior Ministry and CAA, there could not be a transparent investigation that had a potential to hurt their interests.