The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has refused to lift the ban imposed on Pakistani Carriers such as Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to travel to European countries and the UK on the basis of the audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
In a letter to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chief Executive Officer Arshad Malik, EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said that although Pakistan was able to remove the safety concerns raised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), this was only part of the process that would lead to a lifting of restrictions on Pakistani airlines.
In his two-page response sent on January 20, EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky wrote that while the development was an important step towards potential lifting of suspension of PIA’s authorisation, it was important to address the overall oversight capacity of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA).
“As indicated in our letter dated 31 March 2021, the emerging situation on the above-mentioned SSC indicated serious degradation of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority certification and oversight capabilities. Such information shall be taken [into account] by EASA when lifting the suspension,” the letter read.
EASA had suspended the authorisation for Pakistani airlines to operate in Europe first for six months and then indefinitely in the wake of PIA’s PK8303 crashing in Karachi two years ago.
On my recent visit to Pakistan in December, I met up PIA CEO AM Arshad Malik. We discussed issues about the EU blacklist, the credibility of the pilots and return PIA to profitability.