Yes, is the short answer. This week's crash of Bhoja Air’s Boeing 737 killing 127 souls while attempting to land in Islamabad is a heads up to international travelers.
On a published list of the world’s most dangerous airlines, Pakistan Airlines ranks number 7.
Was the crash of Bhoja Air due to poor maintenance of an old airplane? Pilot error? A UFO encounter? Or something else? No one knows yet.
What we do know is that old planes are sluffed off to poor countries such as Pakistan that are trying to start their own airlines or implement an existing one. It is also know that when flying outside of the United States or the European Union, other countries are not well regulated, if at all.
Conde Naste Traveler states,
“As long as you book a flight on an airline operating out of the U.S., you can be sure it has passed an FAA safety audit. But if that flight connects to an airline not operating in the U.S., you will need to check the extensive blacklist published by the Europeans. Even then, the E.U. only has power to ban airlines flying into European air space, which leaves hundreds of airlines that are not caught in either of these two safety regimes.”
On our recent trip to Southeast Asia when flying between countries or internally, we chose one airline over another entirely based on the equipment the carrier flew. It’s especially important to be discriminate in China, whose airlines have at best dicey safety records.