Muscat: Nearly four years after it crashlanded, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft still remains parked at a remote corner of the Muscat International Airport, but at least the lonely jet now has a new owner and a new purpose in life.
Shahzad Paracha, Country Manager of PIA Oman, said the plane doesn’t belong to them anymore. “The insurance company, where the PIA aircraft was insured, had sold it to an Oman based company,” he informed.
One hundred and eight passengers had a narrow escape when their PIA flight from Sialkot to Muscat crashlanded at the Muscat International Airport after the pilots detected a ‘technical fault in the landing gear’ on February 11, 2013. None of the 108 passengers on board were injured in the accident.
Shahzad Paracha said, “There was nothing left in the aircraft. There was no engine. Only the body of the aircraft was parked which the officials used for training purposes.”
However, the logo on the Boeing 737-33A aircraft tail still indicates the aircraft as belonging to the PIA.
“That is our concern. It should be removed. Though the entire aircraft received a fresh coat of paint, the tail hasn’t been painted over. We will take up the matter with the authorities so that they paint the tail also as soon as possible. As for us, we can’t go and paint the tail as it is parked in a no-access zone,” said the PIA official.
Officials said the aircraft is parked away from the runway and can be seen by the people visiting the Muscat City Centre. “I have been seeing this aircraft parked in the same place for a few years,” said Shamshi, a regular visitor to the Muscat City Centre.
Officials at the insurance company decided to sell off the aircraft as it was too badly damaged after its landing gear failed.
“Repairing it and then flying it back to Pakistan would have cost a lot of money.
“That is one of the reasons the insurance company sold the plane in Oman after keeping it for years,” an official said. — Photo: Shabin E