New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Airline regulators of European Union (EU) on Tuesday barred the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for six months after the PIA grounded one-third of its pilots over fake or dubious licenses.

According to a report by news agency AFP, PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan said that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) informed the state-run carrier that the agency ‘is still not sure if all the remaining pilots are properly qualified, and they have lost their confidence in the airline’.     

EASA, in a statement on Tuesday, suspended Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and a smaller private Pakistan private airline from flying in the European countries. In its statement, the EASA said, “in view of the recent investigation reported on in the Pakistani Parliament which revealed that a large share of pilot licenses issued in Pakistan are invalid, the PIA is suspended from flying in the EU countries".

PIA has only flown limited international flights for months as a result of the coronavirus. A resumption of domestic operations last month was followed by a crash blamed on the pilot error that killed 98 people.

Abdullah Khan, as quoted by AFP said that PIA had recently resumed taking bookings for five European capital cities, which includes Paris, Milan and Barcelona among others. However, Khan said that the flights flying to Britain, which is no longer in the EU, had not been affected.

The suspension from the EU came after Pakistan aviation minister informed the Parliament last month that the investigation into PIA crash had found that 262 of Pakistan's 860 active pilots hold fake licenses or cheated on exams. More than half of them were from PIA, and the airline said it would immediately ground 141 of its 434 pilots.

The EASA said it suspended PIA "due to concerns about the capability of competent authorities to ensure that Pakistani air operators are in compliance with applicable international standards at all times".

On May 22, a PIA flight crashed into houses in Karachi, killing all 97 people aboard the plane and a child on the ground. Investigators blamed two pilots, who were chatting about the coronavirus while they first attempted to land the Airbus A320 without putting its wheels down.

 

(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talib Khan