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Europe bans PIA for a period of six months over fake licences of pilots

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ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended the operations permit of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for a period of six months, a spokesperson for the national flag carrier said on Tuesday.
The suspension will take effect on July 1, 2020 at 12 noon UTC time, he said. Therefore, all PIA flights to Europe have been temporarily cancelled.
“Those who have a PIA booking can advance the date forward or get a refund,” the spokesperson said. “PIA is in constant contact with the agency,” he said, adding: “We are taking steps to address their concerns.”
“It is hoped that the suspension will end soon due to the [remedial] steps taken by the government and the administration,” the spokesperson said.
The move is a big blow to the airline, already under scrutiny the world over due to recently uncovered pitfalls within Pakistan’s aviation industry, such as pilots possessing “dubious” credentials – or “fake” licences as put by Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
The minister on Friday last announced that the credentials of 262 pilots are “dubious” and thus they will be barred from flying. The pilots in the line of fire include 141 from PIA, nine from Air Blue and 10 from Serene Airline.
The rest of the 262 belong to flying clubs or chartered plane services, he said. He said all the airlines and the clubs have been conveyed that: “Their credentials are dubious, and they shouldn’t be allowed to fly.”
Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had expressed concern over the “serious lapse in licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator”. – TLTP