KARACHI: British authorities on Monday slapped a temporary ban on cargo services of the ailing Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), forcing the national flag carrier to suspend delivery of goods to much of Europe, officials said.
According to a PIA spokesman, the unexpected ban comes a month after British Transportation Department ‘validated’ the airline’s operations.
“We are contesting their decision. Our officials met their British counterparts in London today to figure out what has happened,” said Mashhood Tajwar, PIA’s spokesman.
Following last month’s validation, another team of English experts was expected to visit Pakistan for the final approval but instead the decision to stop the cargo service was added on the airline’s burgeoning list of troubles.
As per the European Union protocol the assessment of the British officials will be accepted by all other EU member states.
The temporary ban follows a deadly attack on Karachi airport and security concerns surrounding the airlines. But PIA officials say that it is strange that no such restriction has been imposed on private airlines operating out of Pakistan.
A delegation of PIA officials led by Director Flight Operations Salman Azhar will discuss the issue with officials in England on July 31.
The airline does not have any dedicated plane for cargo. However, it uses B 777 and A 310 aircraft to haul cargo overseas, generating around Rs2 billion from Europe.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2014.