Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303
AP-BLD PIA A320 at DAC (25144492685) (cropped).jpg
AP-BLD, the aircraft involved in the accident, in 2016
Date22 May 2020
SummaryAircraft crashed on final approach; cause under investigation
SiteModel Colony, near Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Pakistan
24°54′42″N 67°11′16″E / 24.91167°N 67.18778°E / 24.91167; 67.18778Coordinates: 24°54′42″N 67°11′16″E / 24.91167°N 67.18778°E / 24.91167; 67.18778
Total fatalities97
Total injuriesAt least 10 (2 onboard, 8 on ground)
Aircraft typeAirbus A320-214[1]
OperatorPakistan International Airlines
IATA flight No.PK8303
ICAO flight No.PIA8303
Call signPakistan 8303
Flight originAllama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore, Pakistan
DestinationJinnah International Airport, Karachi, Pakistan
Ground casualties
Ground injuries8[5]

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 was a scheduled domestic flight from Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore to Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan. On 22 May 2020, the Airbus A320 crashed in Model Colony, a densely populated residential area of Karachi, while on final approach to Jinnah International Airport, a few kilometers away from the runway.[3] There were 91 passengers and eight crew members on board the aircraft.[6][7][8] 97 people were killed in the crash;[9] two onboard survivors were rescued.[4]

Karachi crash site.png
Karachi in Pakistan.png
Karachi in Asia.png


The aircraft was an Airbus A320-214,[1] which was built in 2004 and owned by GE Capital Aviation Services. It took its maiden flight on 17 August 2004 and was leased to China Eastern Airlines as B-6017 between September 2004 and June 2014. It was then leased to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) by GE Capital Aviation Services on 31 October 2014, with registration AP-BLD.[10][11][12] It was powered by CFM56-5B4/P engines,[13] which were most recently installed in February and May 2019.[14] The landing gear was installed in October 2014 and was next due for servicing and replacement in October 2024.[14] The PIA's engineering department reported that the last routine maintenance check on the plane was conducted on 21 March 2020, while the most comprehensive check was last performed on 19 October 2019, during which no defects were found in its engines, landing gear or avionics.[13][14] From 22 March to 7 May 2020, the plane had remained grounded owing to flight cancellations amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. From 7 May onward, the plane had conducted six flights.[14] The Civil Aviation Authority had declared the aircraft fit for flight until 5 November. The plane had operated a flight from Muscat to Lahore on the day prior to the accident.[13] According to Airbus, the aircraft had logged 47,124 flight hours.[14][13][15]


The flight, piloted by Captain Sajjad Gul and first officer Usman Azam,[16][17][18][19] took off from Lahore shortly after 1:00 p.m.[20] and was near the end of its 90-minute journey,[6] when it crashed at around 2:45 p.m. local time (09:45 UTC)[21][22] over the "heavily congested" neighbourhood of Model Colony[10] around 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from the Karachi airport.[23] The aircraft's wings were reported as being on fire in the moments before the plane crashed into rooftops.[4][16] The crash damaged buildings in the area,[3] some of which caught fire.[24] The crash was captured on video by a CCTV camera.[25]

The pilot had made an aborted landing attempt onto the airport runway before he encountered a technical issue.[8][20] He radioed air traffic control (ATC) to report the technical problems—an engine failure[21] or landing gear problems.[6] Shortly before contact was lost, ATC told the pilot that he was cleared to use either of the airport's two runways, requesting "Confirm your attempt on belly".[21][24] According to PIA's CEO, Arshad Malik, the technical fault prompted the pilot to make a go-around rather than land, even though both runways were available to him.[4] The pilot told the controller, "we are returning back, sir, we have lost engines". Twelve seconds later, he issued a mayday alert,[20][26][27] which was the final communication between the control room and the aircraft.[8][28]

According to officials from Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), complications had arisen from the aircraft's first attempt at descent, starting with the landing gear failing to engage.[14] The gear was still in the retracted position when the aircraft attempted its first landing. Friction marks on the runway suggested there had been some ground contact; at the runway's 1,400 metres (4,500 ft) mark, the plane's left engine is believed to have scraped the runway, while at the 1,700 metres (5,500 ft) mark, the right engine made contact. When the pilot ascended to go-around and make the second landing attempt, it is believed damage had already been caused to the engines from this contact, leading to engine failure mid-air. This in turn made it impossible for the aircraft to maintain altitude, causing it to crash when it was returning for the second landing.[14] Observers noted that during the ill-fated second landing, the plane's backup ram air turbine appeared to be engaged, whose purpose is to supply electricity to the plane's control systems when both engines have failed.[14]

The narrow streets and alleys comprising the area inhibited the rescue services.[6] ISPR, the Pakistani military's media wing, reported that special forces of the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Rangers had set up a cordon.[6][16] Video footage of the crash scene showed emergency teams trying to reach the scene amid rubble, clouds of black smoke and flames in the background.[24]

Residents said it is not uncommon for aircraft on final approach to pass so close to building rooftops that they "feel [ ⁠. ⁠. ⁠. ] we can touch it", given the proximity of the runways.[29] Edhi Foundation's Faisal Edhi said at least 25 houses suffered damages due to the crash.[16] PIA's spokesman Abdullah Hafiz Khan has said that 18 houses were destroyed or badly damaged.[5] According to a witness statement collected by Reuters, the aeroplane crashed after hitting a mobile tower in the vicinity of the airport.[4]


Passengers and crew by nationality[30][unreliable source?]
Nationality Passengers Crew Total
Pakistan 90 8 98
United States 1 0 1
Total 91 8 99

Pakistan International Airlines released details of the flight manifest which shows 91 passengers (51 men, 31 women, and 9 children).[31] The death toll was confirmed as 97, with no one on the ground thought to be killed.[5] One of the passengers was an American citizen.[32] The model and actress Zara Abid was one of the flight's passengers.[33][34] Five officers from the Pakistan Army and one from the Pakistan Air Force were also among the victims.[35][36]

The aircraft was not filled to capacity due the requirements of social distancing imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority due to the COVID-19 pandemic which mandated at least one vacant seat between the passengers.[37]

Meeran Yousaf, spokesman of Sindh Health Department, has said eight residents of the Model Colony were injured in the crash and most victims' corpses had suffered burns. Most of the injured were women and children.[5] Faisal Edhi said 25–30 people were hospitalised, mostly due to burns.[38]

DNA testing is being used to identify the victims. As of 24 May, 19 have been identified.[4][39]


The Sindh Minister of Health and Population Welfare declared a state of emergency for Karachi's hospitals, while Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered all available resources to the crash site, as did the chief of the Pakistan Air Force.[4] Khan also announced an inquiry,[40] while PIA was reported to have shut down its website.[41] The President, Arif Alvi, tweeted condolences "to the families of the deceased".[24] Public figures across Pakistan expressed their sadness and shock at the incident.[42] Many international leaders and celebrities also sent their condolences.[43][44]

Pakistan had allowed domestic flights to resume, following suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic, six days earlier on 16 May.[6][note 1] Since the crash occurred during the last days of Ramadan, many people were expected to travel to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their families.[21] The pandemic had already stretched the healthcare resources of the city and the crash intensified the burned. Consequently, one of the two survivors was moved to a public hospital to the city center instead of the hospitals closer to the crash site.[41]

The government announced a compensation of  10 lakh (Rs 1 million, or around US$ 6,250) each for the families of those killed, and ₨ 5 lakh (Rs 500,000, or around US$ 3,125) each for the two survivors.[46][47]


Airbus announced they are providing assistance to the investigation.[2][48][49] Following the crash, both the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) were found and handed over to the inquiry board.[13]

See also[]


  1. ^ All flights had been suspended on 29 March;[6] international flights are not scheduled to resume until 1 June.[45]


  1. ^ a b Zulfikar, Fahad (22 May 2020). "PIA plane carrying 99 on-board crashes in Karachi". Business Recorder. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b "PK8303 Crisis Statement Page". Airbus. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Pakistani passenger jet crashes near Karachi airport". Deutsche Welle. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Naseer, Tahir; Hassan, Qazi; Siddiqui, Naveed (22 May 2020). "97 killed as plane crashes into residential area near Karachi airport". Dawn. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Jawad, Adil (23 May 2020). "Turbulence, warnings before Pakistan plane crash killed 97". The Detroit News. Associated Press. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Calder, Simon; Hamdani, Raza (22 May 2020). "Pakistan plane crash: Khan calls for an investigation after Airbus jet come down near Karachi, killing dozens". The Independent. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  7. ^ Kulkarni, Pranav (22 May 2020). "Pakistan International Airlines flight to over 100 people onboard crashes near Karachi Airport; several dead". Times Now. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Pakistan plane crash: Dozens die as jet hits homes in Karachi". BBC News. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Pakistan plane crash survivor: 'All I could see was smoke and fire'". The Guardian. 23 May 2020. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Pakistan plane crashes near Karachi, all 107 killed". The Economic Times. Associated Press. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  11. ^ "AP-BLD PIA Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320-214". Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Pakistan International Airlines AP-BLD (Airbus A320 – MSN 2274) (Ex B-6017)". Airfleets aviation. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d e Naseer, Tahir (23 May 2020). "Crashed Airbus last checked on Mar 21, returned from Muscat a day ago". Dawn. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Ahmed, Waqas (24 May 2020). "First landing attempt doomed PK8303: officials". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Survivor of Pakistan plane crash recounts horror". DW News. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  16. ^ a b c d "At least 57 dead as Pakistan plane crashes in residential area in Karachi". The Times of India. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  17. ^ Ali, Mohammad (22 May 2020). "Captain Sajjad Gul Was Pilot, Usman Azam First Officer Of Unfortunate PK 8303". UrduPoint. Pakistan Point News. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  18. ^ "PIA plane crash: Latest Updates". Daily Times. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Names of Pilot, Crew Members of PIA's Crashed Flight". Abb Takk News. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  20. ^ a b c Rai, Arpan (22 May 2020). "'We lost an engine': PIA plane pilot calmly tells ATC moments before crash". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  21. ^ a b c d Ellis-Petersen, Hannah; Baloch, Shah Meer (22 May 2020). "Dozens killed as passenger plane crashes near Karachi airport". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  22. ^ Hashim, Asad (22 May 2020). "Pakistan passenger plane crashes in southern city of Karachi". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Plane crashes into residential area in Pakistan". The West Australian. 22 May 2020.
  24. ^ a b c d "Scores feared dead as passenger jet crashes in Pakistan". CBS News. Agence France-Presse. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  25. ^ Dey, Stela (22 May 2020). "CCTV Video Shows PIA Plane Crashing Into Karachi Building". NDTV. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Pakistan plane crash: At least two survivors after aircraft carrying 98 people crashes in Karachi". Sky News. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Pakistan crash pilot sent Mayday with 'lost engines':". Reuters. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  28. ^ "Survivor recalls horror of Karachi plane crash that killed 97". Dawn. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Pakistan Plane Crashed: 97 died, Law Enforcement Operation | PAKISTAN". EMEA Tribune News | Pakistan News | India News | Europe News | World News. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  30. ^ Maxwell, John (23 May 2020). "Pakistan Airline Crash Victims Obituary: 97 people have died in Karachi, Pakistan".
  31. ^ "'We have lost engines': Tragedy as PIA flight PK-8303 crashes in residential area near Karachi airport". Geo TV. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  32. ^ Hansler, Jennifer. "One American was aboard the plane that crashed in Karachi, official says". CNN. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  33. ^ Pallavi, Krishna Priya (22 May 2020). "Pakistani model Zara Abid feared dead in PIA plane crash". India Today. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  34. ^ Mandhro, Sameer (23 May 2020). "Zara Abid not on the current list of crash survivors: Health Department". Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  35. ^ "Five Pakistan Army officers martyred in PIA plane crash". Daily Pakistan. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  36. ^ Tunio, Hafeez (24 May 2020). "Plane tragedy: The Eid surprise that never was". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  37. ^ "Pakistan's domestic flights partially resume today". Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  38. ^ "97 dead, 2 survived as Pakistan plane crashes into crowded Karachi colony". India Today. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  39. ^ ur-Rehman, Zia; Masood, Salman (23 May 2020). "Pakistan Plane Crash Leaves Grim Task: Identifying Victims From DNA". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  40. ^ Imran Khan [@ImranKhanPTI] (22 May 2020). "Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. Am in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi & with the rescue & relief teams on ground as this is the priority right now. Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  41. ^ a b "Pakistan plane crash: Khan calls for an investigation after Airbus jet comes down near Karachi, killing dozens". The Independent. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  42. ^ "Pakistani celebrities express sorrow over loss of lives in PIA plane crash in Karachi". The News. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
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  44. ^ "Karachi Plane Crash: Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi and others mourn the loss of lives". India TV. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  45. ^ Saifi, Sophia; Raja, Adeel; Laura, Smith-Spark (22 May 2020). "Dozens killed as Pakistani airliner crashes in Karachi". CNN. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  46. ^ "Aviation minister announces Rs1 million compensation for those killed in plane crash". Dawn. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  47. ^ "Compensation announced for plane crash victims; Rs1m for those killed, Rs 5 lakh for injured; Airbus last checked on March 21, returned from Muscat a day ago". Pakistan Observer. 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  48. ^ Airbus [@Airbus] (22 May 2020). "We regret to confirm that an A320 operated by Pakistan International Airlines was involved in an accident during flight #PK8303 from Lahore to Karachi on May, 22 2020. Our thoughts are with all those affected. Airbus is providing assistance to the investigation" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  49. ^ "Airbus to provide full technical cooperation to PIA, Air France, and CFM International: letter". Geo TV. 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.

External links[]