In order to get rid of international restriction, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has intensified efforts to remove the concerns of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Talking to journalist, Aviation Division’s Joint Secretary Abdul Sattar Khokhar said that all the concerns of EASA and FAA will be removed soon and hoped that the decision to downgrade Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to one-star airline will be withdrawn.
After Ghulam Sarwar Khan accuses nearly 300 PIA pilots of carrying fake suspected fake licenses, treasury MNA Aliya Hamza accuses PIA staff of being ‘active part of smuggling mafia: narcotics, currency & moving gold’. pic.twitter.com/TpVDYCDOt2
— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) July 17, 2020
He maintained that DG CAA has penned letters in this regard to FAA, Civil Aviation Authority of Canada and others. CAA always follow the international aviation rules, the official said and added that they were improving the safety standards and bringing reforms in PIA.
Earlier on July 3, top airline rating website, AirlineRatings.com, had downgraded Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) a one-star airline, the lowest rating out of a total of seven stars after the airline had been suspected to be harboring pilots with fake licenses.
On June 30, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had announced to suspend Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight operations for Europe over safety concerns.
The suspension will come into force from Wednesday and will remain in place for six months.
All PIA flights to Europe will remain suspended after the order as the national flag carrier had asked passengers to either refund their tickets or extend them for a later date. It is to be seen how does the PIA deal with international restriction?
CAA says all its pilot licenses are ‘genuine’, including licenses of 262 pilots?
The Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday informed its Omani counterpart that all commercial pilot licenses (CPL) and airline transport pilot licenses (ATPL) it had issued were “genuine” and the matter of dubious credentials had been “incorrectly highlighted” by mainstream and social media.
US bans Pakistan’s national carrier PIA for 6 months after the revelation that 30% Pakistani pilots have fake licenseshttps://t.co/JBt0Z4YxCi
— OpIndia.com (@OpIndia_com) July 10, 2020
The regulatory body also said it had verified and cleared the licenses of 96 pilots of the 104 names it had received from various foreign counterparts and international airlines.
The CAA was asked to verify their credentials in the wake of the government’s revelation last month that nearly a third of the country’s pilots had suspicious licenses.
“All CPL/ATPL pilot licenses issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) are genuine and validly issued,” read a letter written by CAA Director General Hassan Nasir Jamy to Oman’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation Air Traffic Control Services Director Mubarak Saleh al-Gheilani.
“None of the pilot licenses are fake, rather the matter has been misconstrued and incorrectly highlighted in the media/social media,” Jamy added. Now the PIA has to deal with international restriction.
PIA banned after found licenses of 262 pilots fake: a huge loss to be inflicted?
According to sources, the aviation regulator of Oman had warned that the PIA could be barred from using its airspace if the Pakistani authorities failed to satisfy it about its measures to ensure the safety of flights in the wake of the suspicious licenses controversy.
Today, I raised the issue of Aviation Ministers fake statement on PIA pilots which has led to colossal damage to Pakistan's aviation. There must be accountability for the irreparable loss to the country #ResignNow #NAFiles pic.twitter.com/1LTFcnfJ6T
— Nafisa Shah (@ShahNafisa) July 16, 2020
The aviation authorities of Malaysia and Vietnam have already grounded holders of Pakistani pilot licenses working in local airlines.
Ethiopian Airlines has also sought an explanation from Pakistan.
The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended PIA’s authorization to operate in EU member states for six months expressing concerns over the minister’s statement.
Following the EASA’s move, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said it was withdrawing PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports. “PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesperson for the authority told Reuters. The three were major flying destinations for the airline.
Later, the United States also imposed a ban on flights of the national flag carrier for six months citing dubious licenses.
The PIA was operating 23 flights to the UK every week – nine to London, 10 to Manchester, and four to Birmingham. The national carrier’s destinations in Europe included Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Oslo, and Copenhagen.
As a result of the minister’s claim that licenses of 262 pilots were fake, the airline would incur a loss of Rs33 billion because of the ban. It is already facing a loss of Rs12 billion because it will not be operating Hajj flights this year. The suspension of flights for Umrah passengers has also affected its revenue.