Bhoja Air fully responsible for 2012 crash, SC told

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  • Govt tells top court defunct airline was ‘financially not in soundest of health’, had sought CAA clearance for doomed aircraft without obtaining airworthiness certificate
  • Court fines Air Blue Rs50,000 for not submitting response on time

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Monday submitted a report in the Supreme Court (SC) stating that the defunct Bhoja Air, whose Boeing 737–236 aircraft had crashed in Islamabad in 2012, committed a series of violations, including the initiation of its operations “when the company was financially not in the soundest of health and seemed not to possess requisite infrastructure”.

The report was submitted in the top court during a hearing conducted on the nonpayment of compensation to the families of the victims of a trio of infamous air crashes, including the Air Blue crash of 2010 and PIA crash of 2016.

The report further stated that the defunct airline had asked the Civil Association Authority (CAA) to grant the doomed aircraft permission to fly without an Airworthiness Certificate. Neither was the airplane certified to carry passengers nor was the crew trained to handle emergency situations such as analysing rough weather, the report added.

The airline’s flight 213 crash had claimed the lives of all 127 passengers and crew members on board the aircraft, that lost control and crashed a few kilometres away from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

The report further said that the airplane’s pilot was neither given relevant training for the job nor did he have enough experience to fly a commercial carrier.

During the proceedings, the Bhoja Air counsel told the court that they have paid all the affectees; however, the affectees’ counsel said that one of the accused nominated in the tragedy’s FIR [First Information Report] is out on bail. The court said that cases against those who are out on bail should be decided within a month.

COURT FINES AIR BLUE:

The counsel of Air Blue, one of whose aircrafts crashed near Islamabad in 2010 and left all 146 on board dead, informed the court that all but six of the tragedy’s affectees have been compensated as they chose not to take the compensation money,” the counsel said.

“It is the affectees’ right to claim compensation,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked.

The counsel of the victims’ families informed the court that the clients are ready to accept compensation but the matter is also being litigated in civil courts.

Observing that the Air Blue management was told to deposit the compensation funds with the registrar but it only deposited cheques, Justice Nisar said, “The Air Blue management kept the money with itself and earned mark-up on it.”

The court directed that the compensatory cheques should be cashed out and the money should be invested in a profitable scheme. Furthermore, the court ordered that the civil cases should be heard within three months after summer vacations.

A Rs50,000 fine on Air Blue was also imposed for not submitting its response to the court on time.

Meanwhile, the PIA counsel informed the court that all the victims’ families had been compensated except for one, which has filed a lawsuit against the national carrier.

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