In a letter to the Pakistan International Airlines, the Civil Aviation Authority said that the pilot of the crashed aircraft, flight PK8303, did not follow the instructions of the air-traffic controller (ATC). On May 22, Flight PK8303 crashed in a residential area near Karachi’s airport, killing 97 of 99 passengers and all crew members on board. On Wednesday, the Sindh Health Department stated that 91 of 97 bodies had been identified and handed over to their families.
CAA official Iftikhar Ahmed, on June 2, wrote a letter to the PIA safety and quality assurance department, pointing out “non-compliance of ATC instructions” by PK-8303, and asked him to “ensure avoidance of recurrence of such situation in the interest of flight safety”. The CAA letter stated the duty approach controller had raised a non-compliance report in respect of the pilot of PK-8303, claiming that the pilot was warned twice about his speed and high altitude for approach. The letter states that PK-8303 was cleared to an altitude of 3,000 feet while entering the control zone that is 25 nautical miles (NM), but the aircraft was spotted at a high altitude of over 5,000 feet over Makli. “The same was communicated to the pilot who reported comfortable for descent. Later, at 10NM pilot was again cautioned by offering an orbit to adjust his high altitude for approach, which he did not accept,” it added.
The approach tower deals with the aircraft from the start of descend till it is five nautical miles, handing over control to the local tower after the final landing approach has been established. The local tower is then responsible for visually verifying the aircraft for landing gears and directing the landing. A question that has arisen in the PK8303 case, is why the approach tower did not transfer the aircraft to Karachi tower, which could have physically seen if the landing gears were down or not when the pilot came in for first landing.