Crescent Kashmir

New engine sent for PIA plane grounded in Muscat

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RAWALPINDI: A new engine was airlifted to Muscat on Sunday as Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)’s Boeing 777 is currently being repaired there.

The aircraft landed at Muscat International Airport on Wednesday following an engine failure during a commercial flight from Madina to Islamabad.

According to sources, a C-130 cargo plane took the replacement engine to Muscat for installation on Sunday.

The PIA’s 17-year-old Boeing 777 landed at Muscat due the failure of its engine No 1 while flying as a scheduled commercial flight (PK-714) from Madina to Islamabad under the command of Captain Abdul Rauf and First Officer Zoya Malik on March 6. The plane was grounded at the airport and could be seen at the parking with the engine covers open for repair.

Boeing 777 was flying to Islamabad from Madina on March 6 when its left engine stalled, says official

PK-714 from Madina to Islamabad with 392 passengers onboard had to make an emergency landing at Muscat airport after its engine suddenly stalled at an altitude of 35,000 feet.

The passengers remained stranded at Muscat airport for about 23 hours until they were retrieved in three separate flights as they were not allowed to leave the airport and were treated as transit passengers.

The PIA management was informed by the airport authorities that they cannot allow the passengers to leave the airport as they were transit passengers; therefore, majority of them spent the night on the floor until a relief flight was sent to Muscat from Pakistan.

The aircraft with 357 passengers and 35 crew members took off with the delay of one hour and 50 minutes. After it climbed to the altitude of 35,000 feet with the ground speed of 580 knots, the pilot noticed some problem in the engine.

The aircraft was flying normally towards its destination when its left engine suddenly stalled while passing over Muscat. The cockpit crew then decided to land immediately at the nearest airport of Muscat.

The cockpit crew immediately informed the situation to the Muscat air traffic controller and after getting permission landed the aircraft with its one engine operational at 10:21pm.

The aircraft was parked at the parking bay and passengers were offloaded and sent to the airport lounge. The passengers sitting on the floors in the airport lounges had to wait for the aircraft to get airborne again. It took about 23 hours to get them airborne again as the PIA management sent another aircraft.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said PK-714 with 392 passengers onboard was scheduled from Madina to Islamabad on Wednesday when its pilot noticed variations in one of its engines and decided to land at the nearest airport.

He said the passengers were offered a hotel but they were not allowed to leave the airport by the immigration authorities. Shortly after the plane landed at the airport, a group of engineers were sent to Muscat by an ATR flight to get the engine repaired but after examining it they decided to ground the plane as its engine was damaged probably after being hit by an external object. Later, a relief flight was sent to bring back the passengers.

He said of the 392 passengers, 329 were accommodated in the relief flight, some on ATR while the remaining were brought to Lahore on PK-260.

On the other hand, the government has sought a report from the PIA management about the landing of the plane in Muscat instead of Karachi which was not far from Muscat. The spokesman said as per procedure it was the crew’s decision to land in Muscat instead of taking the risk of coming to Karachi.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2024

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