Pakistani airlines’ European authorisation suspended for six months

The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorisation to fly to the bloc for six months, the airline mentioned on Tuesday, a blow to the service’s operations.

Separately, the protection company mentioned it took the motion due to issues about Pakistan’s potential to make sure compliance with worldwide aviation requirements always.

The suspension follows Pakistan’s grounding of 262 of the nation’s 860 pilots, together with 141 of PIA’s 434, whose licences the aviation minister termed “dubious”.

“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” PIA mentioned in a press release.

PIA mentioned it might briefly discontinue all its flights to Europe however later mentioned it obtained a two-day reduction with touchdown permission in Europe and Britain granted from July 1 to July 3. PIA can also be allowed over flying till additional order, the nationwide flag service’s spokesman mentioned.

Confirming the transfer in an emailed assertion, the EASA referred to a latest investigation by Pakistan which it mentioned confirmed a “large share” of pilot licences to be invalid.

Pakistan’s grounding of the pilots adopted a preliminary report on a PIA crash in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.

PIA mentioned it’s in touch with the EASA to take corrective measures and attraction in opposition to the choice with the expectation of the “earliest possible” lifting of the suspension after motion by the federal government and the airline.

The EASA additionally suspended the authorisation of one other Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.

Vision Air International didn’t instantly reply to an emailed request for remark.

Following the EASA’s determination, the UK Civil Aviation Authority mentioned it, too, was withdrawing PIA’s allow to function from three of its airports, as required beneath regulation.

“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesman for the UK authority informed Reuters.

The three had been main flying locations for the airline.

Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), say there are discrepancies within the authorities’s record of pilots with licences deemed doubtful and are demanding a judicial investigation.

PIA and personal airline Air Blue have additionally queried the record with PIA saying 36 of its pilots talked about had both retired or left the airline, whereas Air Blue mentioned it not employed seven of 9 pilots on the record.

“It contains names of highly educated and qualified pilots who have passed all the tests.”

“We want a fair and impartial resolution to this matter,” mentioned PALPA’s president Chaudhry Salman.

Pakistan aviation ministry official Abdul Sattar Khokhar mentioned it didn’t have full particulars of the discrepancies and “the issue is being sorted out in consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”

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