The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has extended travel restrictions imposed on Pakistan International Airline (PIA) for an indefinite period. Furthermore, it has directed the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) to get its safety audit done by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) scheduled in July.
In July 2020, PIA’s flight operation to European Union member countries was suspended for six months which was further extended to March 31 in December. This step was taken after raising concerns over the safety standards of the airline.
In the new notification, the EASA has said that International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has raised serious concerns over Pakistan which is a clear sign of deterioration in the PCAA capability and regulatory framework. This report will be taken into consideration while making future decisions regarding PIA.
“However, in view of the ICAO audit of Pakistan, scheduled in summer 2021, the ongoing technical consultations with the PCAA and due to exceptional circumstances arising from the current Covid-19 crisis and the consequent travel restrictions, EASA opted not to revoke TCO Authorisation but to further extend the suspension period until all necessary information is available to decide on the way forward,” a letter from the EASA stated.
Following the crash of PIA Flight 8303 near Karachi in May that killed 97 passengers it was concluded that the cause of the Airbus A320 crashing was a result of human error. While talking about the crash in Parliament, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar said that as many as one-third of PIA’s pilots were flying with fake licenses.