EU ban extension: PIA not out of woods: Shafaqna Special

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Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar on Saturday hoped that the ban on the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate flights to and from the European countries would be lifted soon as the concerns raised by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) over the safety atandards have been addressed. The suspension imposed by Easa took effect on July 1, 2020, after it came to light that countless pilots possessed “fake” licences. The ban was a big blow to PIA, which was already under scrutiny across the world due to the recently uncovered pitfalls within Pakistan’s aviation industry.

In December, however, Easa had expressed its satisfaction over certain steps taken by the Civil Aviation Authority to improve the situation. The Easa had said a further audit by the agency’s officials was imperative to revoke the ban.In December, however, Easa had expressed its satisfaction over certain steps taken by the Civil Aviation Authority to improve the situation. The Easa had said a further audit by the agency’s officials was imperative to revoke the ban. The EASA had expressed its satisfaction over certain steps taken by the Civil Aviation Authority to improve the situation and said a further audit by the agency’s officials was imperative to revoke the ban.

However, Considering the gravity of the implications of the fake pilot license issue, there is a glaring trust deficit between global aviation authorities and those of Pakistan’s. If we are to see PIA become operational within the EU again, protect a rapidly eroding market and regain the respect earned through years of strife and display of competency, then more must be done by the government.

However, as it stands today, authorities do not seem to be on the same page as the EU, and thus may not be giving the issue the attention it requires. It is imperative for all our efforts to be focused towards mitigating the losses incurred through this unfortunate oversight. Having high hopes is one thing, but going on about the future without taking into account the actual stance of important bodies is another degree of disillusion that our government cannot practice.

The status quo looks bleak for Pakistan as international flights are severely limited, and prohibited in certain areas of the world. Already, PIA is losing out on its market share and, with such travel bans, the aviation industry can barely export again for the foreseeable future. CAA’s audit is needed immediately so that work can begin and the country’s flag carrier can resume operations.

Shafaqna Pakistan

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