CAA team in Brussels for airline revival talks

Officials to discuss Pakistani airlines’ Europe flights resumption

Our Correspondent August 26, 2023
A file photo of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) office. PHOTO: CAA


A team from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has reached Brussels, the capital of Belgium, to facilitate the restoration of flights for the country's airlines to European destinations. The team's main objective is to engage with authorities there regarding technical discussions and issues concerning the European Commission (EC).

Sources indicate that the CAA delegation plans to meet officials from the European Commission to discuss the revival of air passenger carriers in Pakistan, including the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

They will apprise EC and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) representatives about Pakistan's efforts to enhance flight safety and pilot license examinations. The team includes the CAA's Deputy Director General and Airworthiness Director.

The EASA has already given its clearance to PIA following a remote audit, which marks significant progress towards resuming the national carrier's flights to European destinations. This remote audit by EASA took place a few months ago. An on-site audit by EASA is scheduled for September, during which both PIA and CAA will undergo a physical inspection.

Read European agency clears PIA in remote audit

The successful conclusion of these audits is expected to lead to the restoration of PIA's flights to Europe, a development that would be highly advantageous for the airline.

PIA faced a ban on its flights to European countries since June 2020. The ban was imposed in the aftermath of the PK-8303 flight crash in Karachi on May 22, 2020, and revelations by the then Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, regarding the grounding of 262 airline pilots suspected of fraudulent exam practices.

The previous government took prompt action to amend aviation laws under pressure from the EU.

These amendments included the Pakistan Civil Aviation Act, 2023, and the Pakistan Airports Authority Act, 2023. These changes aimed to rectify past shortcomings that had led to the suspension of flight operations to Europe and other destinations in the wake of the 2020 fake pilot license scandal.

Insiders disclosed that the swift passage of the aviation bills through the National Assembly was influenced by the EU's desire to reinstate flight operations between Pakistan and various international destinations, including Europe, the UK, and the US. The legislative adjustments were designed to align with international standards and regain the trust of international aviation authorities.


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