The decision comes following reports of ‘dubious’ flying lincences of some pilots
DUBAI : Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) faces major blow on Tuesday as it has been barred from operating flights to European countries for a period of six months starting July 1.
The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) announced to suspend the air operations permit for a period of six months, the national carrier’s spokesperson said on Tuesday
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorisation to operate to the EU member states for a period of 6 months effective July 1, 2020, with the right to appeal against this decision,” a PIA statement said.
The suspension will take effect on July 1, 2020 at 12 noon. All PIA flights to Europe have been temporarily cancelled. “Those who have a PIA booking can move the date forward or get a refund,” the spokesperson said. “We are in touch with the agency and taking steps to address their concern,” he added.
The spokesperson said that he hoped the suspension would end soon due to the steps being taken by the government and the administration.
Suspension of flights to Europe is a big blow to the airline and it will also hamper the repatriation process of stranded Pakistanis. The airline, which is already bleeding financially, has come under scanner after the allegation of having pilots with ‘fake’ flying licences. The airline has already grounded 141 pilots with dubious flying licences.
Pakistan Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar had earlier announced the qualifications of 262 pilots in Pakistan are “dubious”. The pilots in the line of fire include 141 from PIA, nine from Air Blue and 10 from Serene Airline.
The startling revelations of ‘fake pilots’ came as the minister presented the interim report on the probe into the May 22 PIA plane crash causing death of 97 passengers.
Following the report, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had expressed concern over the “serious lapse in licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator, Pakistani media report.