Last week a Pakistan International Airlines ATR tragically crashed while operating a domestic flight. The investigation regarding the incident is ongoing, and for the time being PIA has grounded their entire ATR fleet.
This has meant that PIA has had to cancel flights to some of their destinations. That’s because the next smallest plane in PIA’s fleet is the A320, and it’s not capable at landing at many of these smaller airports.
Well, it looks like PIA has a creative solution to this… sort of.
For the time being, PIA is operating a Pakistan Air Force C-130 on select flights. While the C-130 is a fairly large plane, it is able to take off on very short runways, so can serve most of the airports that the ATR can.
PIA obtains services of a C-130 aircraft from PAF for resumption of flights to Gilgit. PK-605 to operate at 11am instead of 7am tomorrow pic.twitter.com/Mme6YzMqoz
— Danyal Gilani (@DanyalGilani) December 14, 2016
Given that this is a military plane, the C-130 interior typically looks like a cargo hold. The plane sometimes has netted benches along the side of the plane, though I’ve never seen one in a “true” passenger configuration.
— Times of lsIamabad (@TimesofIslambad) December 14, 2016
Ultimately I commend PIA for their creativity here. They don’t have many options when the entire ATR fleet is grounded, so this is a creative way for them to still get passengers to their destination. I assume passengers can refund their tickets if they’re not comfortable with flying a military plane.
But ultimately PIA deserve credit for their creativity, and as an aviation geek, this seems like one of the more unique passenger flights out there.
What do you think of what PIA is doing, and does flying a C-130 sound like avgeek heaven or torture to you?
(Tip of the hat to @AirlineFlyer)