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European Aviation Agency Announces Decision on PIA Ban

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has maintained its ban on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights to Europe, citing the carrier’s failure to meet essential safety guidelines.

According to the European Commission, PIA has not effectively complied with the required safety standards necessary for lifting the ban.

The EASA ban, which has been in place since 2020, was initially imposed following a scandal involving fake pilot licenses that came to light after a tragic plane crash in May 2020. The crash, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 people, led to the grounding of 262 out of 860 pilots in Pakistan, including 141 from PIA.

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A spokesman for the European Commission stated that there are currently no justifications for amending the list of air carriers banned from operating within the European Union, which includes those certified in Pakistan.

This statement contradicts recent comments from PIA CEO Muhammad Amir Hayat, who had expressed optimism that the airline would resume flights to Europe by mid-2023.

In a recent on-site assessment conducted in Pakistan from November 27-30, 2023, EU experts acknowledged that the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has policies aimed at adhering to international safety standards and is staffed with technically skilled professionals.

However, the assessment also identified several shortcomings, such as insufficient internal verifications and a lack of adequately qualified personnel within the Flight Standards Directorate to handle all certification and safety oversight tasks.

The PCAA’s Flight Standards Directorate was found to be severely understaffed, exacerbating the situation by assigning tasks beyond its remit. Despite these challenges, Pakistan’s government is moving forward with plans to privatize PIA by mid-2023 as part of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requirements to address the airline’s ongoing financial crisis.



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