In an achievement, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) recently cleared a safety audit conducted by International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) validation committee.
This is a welcoming development as it will increase the chances of the European Union (EU) lifting its ban on PIA. With the ICAO clearance, the Significant Safety Concerns (SSC) will also ease out.
According to reports, an ICAO audit team visited Pakistan to undertake a safety audit of the aviation authority. It presented its report to its validation committee which cleared the safety audit. However, ICAO will publicly release its final report after a few weeks.
In response, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) held a meeting of the Senate Sub-Committee on Aviation to discuss reforms. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla convened the meeting. MNA Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Senator Afnanullah Khan, Senator Aon Abbas, the aviation secretary, Mr Murtaza also attended.
“The ICAO has informed the PCAA that the safety audit conducted by its team recently was presented before its validation committee, which cleared it after which the SSC will be removed and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency will lift the ban,” CAA Director General Khaqan Murtaza revealed at the meeting.
However, CAA DG also PIA cannot resume EU flight operations until the PCAA receives the approval.
PIA improving its safety standards
To clarify, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency imposed a ban on PIA in July 2020 due to licensing and flight safety concerns. Due to this, the national airline aimed to reform its security standards.
The airlines recently received the region’s first Airbus A320 simulator for the training of pilots, refresher courses, and air safety. Important to note, Pakistan has 670 pilots of Airbus A320. Before the simulator, pilots were bound to travel abroad for refresher courses along with an inspector of civil aviation. The installation of the Airbus simulator will end the huge expenditure of the national flag carrier for pilots’ training.
#PIA acquires state-of-the-art, full digital A320 Simulator from @L3HarrisTech, the 1st of its kind in #Pakistan tremendously boosting #Pilot Training and saving millions of dollars. A key milestone for #PakAviation for #A320 pilots of all airlines. @ukinpakistan @CTurnerFCDO pic.twitter.com/PEpSibdEnj
— PIA (@Official_PIA) December 18, 2021
Furthermore, November, PIA achieved zero index in the audit conducted by European air safety watchdog SAFA (Safety Audit for Foreign-Origin Aircraft.)
Perfect SAFA Safety Ratings. Dedicated & sincere efforts of #PIA team showed magnificent results & we stand at zero ratio, a huge manifestation of adherence of world class safety & Air Worthiness standards, Bravo PIA Team for making #Pakistan proud
— Air Marshal Arshad Malik (Retd) (@amarshadmalik) November 5, 2021
SAFA conducts periodic and surprise safety checks for all the non-European Airlines at different airports in the world. PIA came under intense scrutiny by SAFA inspectors following fake license scandals of Pakistani pilots.
With zero findings recorded by SAFA, the air safety watchdog lowered its safety hazard index to zero, which is considered a perfect score.
PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik thanked the Almighty for the achievement and congratulated the team for hard efforts to acquire the highest ever safety ratings.