EASA schedules audit to decide PIA’s fate for UK, EU operations

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is hoping to restore their links with Europe after signalling that it has resolved safety concerns with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). However, fact of the matter is that ICAO does not have the authority to impose or lift a ban against any airline.

According to the details, the PIA ban was imposed by European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in the aftermath of a fatal accident involving a PIA Airbus A320 (flight PK-8303), and the subsequent revelation by the Aviation Minister that a high number of crew licences were obtained fraudulently.

EASA in its January 20, 2022, reply to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) PIA Air Marshal Arshad Malik has informed that EU Commissions will continue to engage with Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority and monitor the further measures adopted and actions taken to address the situation in Pakistan, including through the outcome of the planned ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) audit, as well as through a Union on-site assessment visit to Pakistan.

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Sources reveal that EASA has been in constant touch with the national flag carrier and will be carrying out an audit of the airline next month which is likely to pave the way for PIA to operate flights for the United Kingdom (UK) and Europe.

“EASA will have to evaluate the latest USOAP audit report in its entirety to determine the robustness of the certification and oversight capacity of PCAA in general and beyond the shortcomings that led to the SSC. Furthermore, in view of the on-going consultation under the EU ASL, the on-site technical evaluation must be performed with the European Commission,” said the letter.

“Therefore, EASA will need further coordination for the planning of any mission to Pakistan closely with the European Commission,” the letter further stated.

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“We are prepared for any audit from EASA,” the PIA spokesman said adding that their flight safety index is at the historic high currently.

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It is to be remembered that last year, PIA was restricted from flying to the United States (US), EU, and the UK after EASA’s decision to suspend the national flag carrier’s operation. 

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