Now Reading: Following EASA, US Also Bans PIA Flights Over Pilot License Scandal
All flights of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have been banned by the US over the recent controversy with pilots’ certifications. This ban is going to go in effect immediately. The US Department of Transportation said in a statement that it has also revoked the permission that was given to PIA to conduct flight operations to and from the United States along with the special licenses that were issued to PIA pilots by the US. The department further cited the concerns of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over the Pakistani pilots’ licenses scandal and safety issues of the flights.
Reportedly, Pakistan was informed of this ban via Email by the US. The ban is going to last for a period of six months. This follows European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA’s) suspension of PIA’s authorization to conduct flight operations in its member states. EASA’s ban is also going to last for a six month period, with a potential three month extension. As for the US ban, along with the regular flight ban, the ‘special direct flights’ are also under effect of the suspension. the effect. The airline had received special permission to operate 12 special direct flights to the United States this year through exhaustive negotiations. Out of the 12, 7 had already taken place. Now, the US government has said that the remaining five flights will not be happening anytime soon.
The PIA Pilots’ License Scandal
The pilots’ license scandal is the latest in the PIA’s long history of scandals. A full investigation was conducted after the Karachi plane crash earlier in May this year that killed 97 people. In a briefing, the Aviation Minister of the country said that the investigation revealed that around 40% of all pilots in the country had fake licenses and had no flight experience. Even the famous pilot sisters turned out to be fakes. Following this, PIA grounded one third of its pilots and that has taken a huge hit on its international reputation.
Following the international bans, opposition leader and PML-N president – Shehbaz Sharif – took to twitter to express his thoughts. The leader blamed this situation on the “mindless and ill-though-out speech” by the Aviation Minister. He said;
“Ban on PIA imposed by several countries with the US being the latest is a consequence of mindless and ill-thought-out speech by Aviation Minister [Ghulam Sarwar Khan] who only wanted to evade responsibility. Look at what he has done to the entire aviation industry besides bringing bad name to Pakistan.”
Ban on PIA imposed by several countries with the US being the latest is a consequence of mindless & ill-thought-out speech by Aviation Minister who only wanted to evade responsibility. Look at what he has done to the entire aviation industry besides bringing bad name to Pakistan!
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 10, 2020
According to PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik, PIA is going to address the concerns through ongoing corrective measures within the airline. The airline will also soon be restructured to meet standards and become a “profitable and leading airline”.