Civil Aviation: Pakistan

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Airline disasters in Pakistan's history

By Saba Imtiaz

Published: July 28, 2010

The Express Tribune

Pakistan has a history of aviation disasters that have killed hundreds, dating back to the 1950s.

On August 1, 1957, 24 people were killed when a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed in the Bay of Bengal. The next year, over 20 people died when a PIA flight crashed in New Delhi.

1965 was one of the deadliest years for Pakistan International Airlines. Two flights crashed, one in the Lowery Pass, which killed 22 people. The other, was an inaugural flight that was headed to London, and crashed 12 miles away from the Cairo airport. According to a report in the Evening Independent newspaper, the Karachi-London flight was scheduled to pick up 52 passengers from Cairo. Of the 126 people on board, only six survived. Among the dead were 93 Pakistanis, while the six survivors were also Pakistani.

The report stated, “Captain Akbar Aly Khan, pilot of the four engine jet, reported engine trouble and a fire in the landing gear minutes before the crash.”

In 1970, a Fokker plane crashed soon after take-off in Islamabad, killing 30 passengers. In 1972, another Fokker plane crashed in Rawalpindi, and all 26 on board died.

On November 26, 1979, one of the worst aviation disasters in the country’s history occurred. A PIA flight crashed on take-off in Taif in Saudi Arabia, killing 156 people. The passengers included 110 pilgrims returning from Mecca. Sarasota Journal quoted a Radio Pakistan report that said that the “first indication of an emergency came when the plane’s pilot radioed ‘there was smoke in the cabin and cockpit’ and shortly after the captain called out ‘Mayday’.”

Two more Fokker crashes occurred in the 1980s. One crash, that took place in Peshawar on October 13, 1986, killed 13, while the other, on August 25, 1989, killed 54. The latter crashed in Gilgit and hikers reported seeing a low-flying plane in the area.

The October 13 2010 crash was reportedly caused by wedding celebrations in Peshawar, according to the New York Times. The NYT quoted Dawn as saying that the crash “may have been the result of gunfire that hit the aircraft or distracted the pilot” and that “seven bridegrooms who were celebrating their marriages that night were arrested in Peshawar.”

The biggest aviation disaster to date was the PIA flight that crashed in the Nepal capital of Kathmandu in September 1992 and killed all 167 people on board. The plane burst into flames as it was about to land at the Kathmandu airport. The dead included 37 Britons and 3 Americans. A report in the Herald Scotland at the time said, “Flight PX268, en route to the Nepalese capital from Karachi, was carrying scores of European holidaymakers, many of them backpackers and members of climbing teams.”

A major airline disaster took place in 2006, when a 27-year-old Fokker plane crashed into a wheat field in Multan two minutes after taking off. The same year, Pakistan International Airlines discontinued use of Fokker planes. The Associated Press quoted a government official saying that “the planes were still airworthy and the decision to stop using them for passenger flights was made to allay people’s safety fears.”

Other airlines have also seen plane crashes within Pakistani territory, including a Soviet (now Russian) Aeroflot cargo plane that crashed in Karachi, killing 9 people.

Aircraft accidents: 1990-2014

The Times of India

Jan 12 2015

No region to fear

Pakistan and the world: aircraft accidents 1990-2014


While search teams are recovering bodies and debris of Air Asia's flight 8501 which crashed, killing all 162 people on board, it remains a mystery what caused the plane to plunge into the sea. Coming about nine months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, it has spooked many about aviation safety standards in the region. An analysis of the deadliest plane accidents since 1990, however, suggests that no region is more accident prone than any other with accidents spread across the world. Incidentally, the deadliest aircraft accident in this period happened in India. The mid-air collision of a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747-100B and a Kazakhastan Airlines Ilyushin Il-76 resulted in 349 deaths Source: World Aircraft Accident Summary, Fedral Aviation Administration, Date Range 1990 2014

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