Audit date set for PIA to lift EU ban

EASA to physically inspect safety measures taken by national carrier

Our Correspondent July 29, 2022


The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation on Thursday was informed that the international aviation safety bodies had fixed the date for the audit of the national carrier, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The director general of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), told the meeting, which was presided over by the panel’s chairman Senator Hidayatullah, that after an online audit in October this year by the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA), a physical one would also take place by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

He further said Middle Eastern airlines were also influencing Europe's ban.

He added that foreign airlines could not allow Pakistan to operate Airbus A380 planes in the country.

The PIA landed in hot water in the wake of its flight PK8303 crashing in Karachi on May 22, 2020, and the subsequent announcement by then aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan of the grounding of 262 airline pilots suspected of dodging their exams.

In January this year, EASA had refused to lift the ban imposed on PIA to travel to European countries and the UK on the basis of the audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Following the findings of the audit, the PIA CEO had written a letter to EASA to lift the ban.

In his two-page response sent on January 20, EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky had written 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 had read.

It had added EASA would conduct its own audit of PIA prior to lifting of the restrictions in accordance with Article 235(d) of the TCO Regulation (EU) No 452/2014.

The CAA DG further told the panel that joint efforts were being made to resume PIA flights to the UK and European Union countries.

He added that efforts were under way that this matter was resolved at the earliest but procedures take time.

The CAA DG further told the committee that despite all-out efforts by the ministry to upgrade the Larkana airport, no progress could be made because of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) stance of protecting the Mohenjodaro that had been declared a World Heritage Site.

He told the panel that the matter was taken to court, implying that the construction work would damage the site.

When the members of the committee objected to the appointment of the CAA DG, Aviation and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique came forward in his defence.

He maintained that the appointment was made according to the law and rules.

The minister added that the official was highly qualified and managing the position well.

The meeting was attended by Senators Sherry Rehman, Saleem Mandviwalla, Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Faisal Saleem Rehman, Mohsin Aziz, Afnan Ullah Khan, Atta Ur Rehman , Saifullah Abro and Keshoo Bai among others.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ