Now Reading: European Union Bans PIA From Flying To Europe For 6 Months
The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has banned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from executing flight operations to its member countries for a time span of six months. This ban will kick into effect the 1st of July and will last till the end of the year i.e. through the 31st of December, 2020. “EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of 6 months effective July 1, 2020, with the right to appeal against this decision”, said PIA in an official statement, confirming that PIA is going to suspend all flight operations to said states.
Aside from the EASA, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has also suspended PIA’s flight operations to and from select airports. According to a spokesperson of UK’s Aviation Authority;
“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.”
Why The Ban?
This ban has come as a result of the revelation by Pakistan’s Aviation Minister that 262 of the 860 pilots in the country have “fake” licenses. Out of these 262, 150 of the pilots belonged to and were suspended by PIA. Add that to the PIA karachi plane crash back in May, European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it was, “concerned about the validity of Pakistani pilot licences” in the letter announcing the ban. Here’s what was further added in the letter;
“EASA is concerned about the validity of the Pakistani pilot licenses and that Pakistan, as the state of operator, is currently not capable to certify and oversee its operators and aircraft in accordance with applicable international standards. Moreover, following the recent tragic events that M/S Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited has faced, including flight PK8303 on May 22, 2020 and the initial findings laid down in the preliminary accident report showing successive breaches of multiple layers of safety defenses in the safety management system, EASA is concerned that the safety management system is not achieving its primary objective.”
EASA has also expressed that the suspension period may get extended by 3 months if the safety standards are not met at the end of the 6 month suspension in effect right now.