Pakistan International Airlines made it to the news again yesterday when one of its few functional ATR 42 aircraft overshot the runway at Gilgit Airport. The 12-year-old ATR42-500 registered as AP-BHP and named “Gilgit” after the city where it ironically had the incident, was operating on the flight PK605, the daily service of PIA from the capital Islamabad to Gilgit.
The aircraft left Islamabad on time around 07 00 local time and overshot the runway upon landing. All 53 people including crew evacuated the aircraft safely and no injuries were reported either. The undercarriage of the aircraft is likely to be damaged. Although the aircraft does not look like it may be damaged beyond repair, it will likely take long before it is back in the skies. A long landing after the landing zone is reported to be the cause of the incident whereas some resources quote that the Anti-Skid function was not working. Very few sources also mention the thrust reversers were faulty too.
The flight crew in command of the flight has been grounded until investigations take place and the original cause is brought forth. What is surprising though that there has been no statement from the airline on any social media platform acknowledging the incident and giving any information regarding it either.
Gilgit, a small city located in the northernmost area of Pakistan is a year-round tourist destination for locals and foreign tourists. The city is located in a valley in the Karakoram range, meaning limited access for transportation. Gilgit’s airport is very small and has a very difficult approach which requires a left turn to turn into finals for the runways only a few miles out. The runway is also quite small due to its position in the valley and the airport has encountered many accidents previously.
This is also the 3rd ATR incident PIA has to face in less than a year which now includes 2 runway overshoots and 1 on ground collision. How well does the crisis struck airline deal with this is a big question and raises further questions on the CEO’s claim for a “Completely operational” fleet?