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Good news as ICAO removes Pakistan from safety concern list

ICAO’s Deputy Director Denis Guindon said that the actions taken by Pakistan had successfully resolved SSC. This is a welcoming development as CAA's removal from the SSC list will make way for European Union Aviation Safety Agency finally lifting its ban on flights from Pakistan.

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International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) removed Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) from the list of the Safety Significant Concern (SSC).

In a January 4 letter to DG CAA Khaqan Murtaza, ICAO’s Deputy Director Denis Guindon wrote that the committee conducted the audit in December 2021 and “determined that the actions taken by Pakistan had successfully resolved SSC (Significant Safety Concern).”

Regarding this, 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. CAA received a ranking of 72. 77 percent.

The ICAO official also thanked the aviation authority for assistance during the audit mission and reiterated appreciation for the active commitment of Pakistan towards achieving its safety objectives.

Read more: EU soon to lift ban as PIA clears safety audit

This is a welcoming development as CAA’s removal from the SSC list will make way for European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) finally lifting its ban on flights from Pakistan.

To clarify, EASA imposed a ban on PIA in July 2020 due to licensing and flight safety concerns. As a result, the national airline aimed to reform its security standards.

Political interventions badly affected PIA

According to PIA CEO Arshad Malik, political interventions by previous governments badly affected the airline’s performance.

“Unfortunately, political intervention has been happening for about two decades, which made people (at the helm of affairs) stronger rather than the organisation,” he lamented during an interview.

PIA lost merit-based decisions because of these interventions. He also said that the national flag carrier was not taking commercial decisions.

“With all these things going on, naturally your performance indicators would start to go down,” Malik underlined.

Read more: PIA to resume flights to Europe

Despite all odds, “we managed, organised and groomed ourselves in commercial aviation”, he remarked.

Malik cherished that PIA also effectively overcame the challenge it faced in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic during which the aviation and hospitality sectors suffered a lot.

“Then there was another challenge whereby an international observation came about the licences of PIA pilots, issued by the PCAA, leading to the suspension of European routes,” he said. “But we managed these things and expressed the resolve to come out of this crisis.”