EASA bans Pakistan International Airlines from operating to/from Europe for six months

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©Maarten Van Den Driessche

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) third country operator authorisation. This means that the airline can’t operate flights to and from Europe in the next six months.

According to EASA, the airline failed to demonstrate having effectively implemented all elements of a Safety Management System. Furthermore, on 24 June, the safety agency received information that Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Pakistan’s Aviation Minister, informed the Pakistani Parliament of the results of an investigation which revealed that more than 260 out of 860 pilot licences issued by the Pakistani authorities and used by pilots operating for air operators certified in Pakistan are fraudulent.

Based on that information, EASA is concerned about the validity of the Pakistani pilot licences and that Pakistan, as the State of operator, is currently not capable to certify and oversee its operators and aircraft in accordance with the applicable standards.

EASA’s decision was – most likely – accelerated by PIA’s recent disaster where an Airbus A320 attempted a landing without its landing gear extended and which – shortly after – crashed in a neighborhood near Karachi, with 97 fatalities as a consequence.

The decision enters into force as from 1 July 2020, with immediate effect and during a period of six months. The airline, however, has the right to appeal the decision.

In a short statement, PIA announced that it was in touch with EASA. The airline hopes that the suspension will be revoked.

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