An Airbus SE jet operated by Pakistan International Airlines crashed with 107 people on board as it approached its destination of Karachi.
Flight PK 8303, which took off from Lahore, was carrying 99 passengers and 8 crew, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority said. The country’s army tweeted that troops had reached the site to conduct relief-and-rescue efforts. The A320 narrow-body jet was built in 2004, data from Flightradar24 showed.
It’s the second plane crash for the Pakistani carrier in less than four years. The airline’s chairman resigned in late 2016, less than a week after the crash of an ATR 42 turboprop killed 47 people. Friday’s crash happened on the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, when many Pakistanis return home to celebrate.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted he’s in touch with the airline’s chief executive officer and that an investigation would be conducted soon.
A CAA representative couldn’t immediately confirm the number of casualties and said the authority is waiting for more information. An Airbus representative said the company is in touch with the airline to gather more information and declined to comment further.
Like other carriers worldwide, PIA struggled with plane groundings in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company, which hasn’t made a profit since 2004, asked the government for financial support in March.
But signs of a recovery were in sight as the country began emerging from a two-month lockdown. Pakistan recently began resuming domestic flights last week, starting with 20% of capacity.
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