July 29, 2010

What happened to ED 202?

Only time will tell. Meanwhile, speculations are booming as to what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how it went wrong. Apart from chatter that is dominating the Pakistani airwaves, one thing appears to be certain and confirmed (for now): This was no act of sabotage or terror. Of course there are other aspects of the crash that need to be looked into, and a conclusive outlook can only be made after the inquiry and investigation has been completed.

Flight ED 202. No survivors were found. (Source: Dawn.com)
There is also a lot of confusion circulating in the masses through the media outlets. For example, the flight name was previously provided to be AQB 202, however now it has changed to ED 202. The news also was that the pilot was on approach to land in on the ILS (Instrument Landing System) Runway 30. But new conflicting reports suggest that he was in bound to land in on the non ILS Runway 12, when he was told to go around and change course to land in on the ILS Runway 30. There is also speculation as to whether the aircraft’s Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) was working or not. Of course the pilot was forced to fly parallel to the Margalla Hills while turning because flying over Pindi is forbidden. The most likely cause however appears to be the lack of visibility and lack of coordination between the ATC and the pilot.

This crash has also opened lots of intriguing questions that need to be answered. The safety procedures in the Pakistani aviation industry have time and again been called into question. In fact, it was not so long ago that several of PIA’s aircrafts were banned from flying to the European Union. Before that, despite repeated requests, the PIA did not switch from Fokker aircraft to a more modern variant, and it took the 2006 Multan air crash to force the PIA management to buy second hand ATR planes. This is not the first crash in Pakistani aviation and this most certainly will not be the last. But the safety protocols in place need to be revisited because the risk of loss of human life is too great. It would be prudent to initiate an examination of the current protocols.

Once again, may Allah bless the departed souls and provide courage to all their mourners. Amen.