PIA gets banned in Europe & UK for six months over dubious pilots
A spokesperson of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) confirmed on Tuesday, that PIA has been banned to operate in the European Union (EU) & three airports of United Kingdom (UK) for six months by European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) and UK Civil Aviation Authority respectively.
UK’s suspension includes the airports of Manchester, Birmingham, and London Heathrow, while all the EU airports are being closed for all PIA flights. Effective July 1, 2020, all the PIA operations are suspended in the EU and above mentioned UK airports.
PIA was already a mess, and the recent developments relating to the inquiry of Karachi plane crash and suspension of 35% of PIA’s pilots over fake licenses suspicion has made the situation much worse.
The decision by the EU & UK has come after the aviation minister Sarwar Khan, grounded 262 pilots of the country over ‘dubious’ licenses, including PIA’s pilot.
In a notification, EASA cited the reason behind this move is due to the concerns surrounding the validity of Pakistani pilot licenses. And shows their concerns regarding the successive safety protocol breaches by the Pakistani pilots that have surfaced after the preliminary report of the tragic incident in Karachi on May 22, 2020.
While a spokesperson of the UK Civil Aviation Authority said,
“Following the decision on 30 June 2020, by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to suspend permission for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate services to the European Union, PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow, and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority is required under law to withdraw PIA’s permit to operate to the UK pending EASA’s restoration of their approval that it meets international air safety standards. “
According to a PIA statement, they have a right to appeal against EASA’s decision, are in touch with the EASA to relieve their concerns, and are hopeful that the suspension will be revoked soon. But the following statement made by the EASA tells us otherwise, that there are very slim to none chances of that happening any time soon.
EASA statement reads,
“However, this does not mitigate EASA’s concern, as there are strong indications that a high number of Pakistani pilot licenses are invalid. EASA therefore no longer has confidence that Pakistan, as the state of operator, can effectively ensure that operators certified in Pakistan comply at all times with the applicable requirements for crew qualification.”
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