The airline that crashed in Pakistan has a spotty safety record, with several incidents in the past decade, including a fatal crash

Fire brigade staff try to put out fire caused by plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, on Friday. AP Photo/Fareed Khan

A passenger plane carrying more than 100 people crashed in Pakistan on Friday.

The Airbus A320, operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), crashed near Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

Pakistan’s aviation authority told the BBC that 107 people were on board flight PK 8303.

The crash, the first such incident involving a commercial airline since the coronavirus pandemic decimated global travel demand, came just days after Pakistan began allowing domestic air travel to resume following a lockdown to contain the virus.

Pakistan and PIA, the national airline, have had a history of safety incidents:

  • In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines turboprop plane crashed after one of its engines failed. The ATR 42-500 burst into flames, killing all 48 on board.
  • In 2013, a PIA jet’s landing gear collapsed as it landed in Oman. There were no injuries, but the plane was damaged beyond repair.
  • In 2010, an Airbus A321 operated by Pakistani airline Airblue crashed into the hills near Islamabad, killing all 152 on board.

The pilots of Friday’s flight aborted their initial approach into Karachi airport, according to audio of air traffic control communications posted by Live ATC, a website which gives access to air traffic control radio transmissions.

Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik, the airline’s chief executive, told a local TV station that the landing was aborted due to a technical issue, The New York Times reported.

While preparing for the subsequent approach, pilots appeared to report difficulty maintaining altitude, responding to air traffic control instructions that they were “trying to maintain.”

During the subsequent approach, the pilots reported that both engines had failed.

“We have lost engines,” a pilot can be heard saying. “Mayday, mayday, mayday.” It was the final transmission from the plane.