The EU is going to lift a travel ban on Pakistan’s National Airline PIA. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA’s) CEO Arshad Malik announced the good news on Thursday. He said that the airline is likely to resume operations in the European Union. The operations will begin in the following month once PIA has received approval from international aviation auditors.
Auditors may finish the audit of the PIA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) by the end of next month. Mr. Navaid Malik is serving as the director of Pakistan International Airlines. He announced the good news to the media. Moreover, he said that they have high hopes that this audit will cause the EU to lift the ban on PIA.
He stated that international safety organizations would also visit Pakistan later this month or early next month. The EU ban on PIA had caused significant losses for the national carrier. This ban resulted from an investigation into PIA pilots that revealed hundreds of them had questionable licenses.
Mr. Malik also complained that the CAA does not give priority to PIA. He later questioned the agency’s priorities regarding the national carrier. In addition, he revealed that even Gulf countries also don’t give PIA slots. This is the reason why they have to look for other places. PIA has finally resumed flights to Damascus after 22 years. However, PIA is also preparing to launch the first direct flights to and from Australia. Besides that, flights to and from Malaysia, Iraq, and Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan) will also start next month.
The director also informed the media that the PIA is also attempting to launch direct services to Hong Kong. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has announced that it would conduct its assessment. The agency has announced to conduct a thorough examination before approving the restart of flights from Pakistan. In a letter to Mr. Malik, EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky stated that Pakistan had addressed safety concerns raised by the International Civil Aviation Organization. However, a complete examination is the only process that would result in the lifting of restrictions on Pakistani airlines.
In 2020, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan asserted in the National Assembly that 150 PIA pilots had fake licenses. These questionable licenses held by Pakistani pilots attracted international attention. After the scandal, the European Union prohibited PIA.