As a consequence of the recent investigation that found 40% of Pakistani pilots to hold dubious degrees, the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has temporarily suspended the country’s flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) and Vision Air International, from operating to and from the European Union.
“This decision was taken due to concerns about the capability of competent authorities to ensure that Pakistani air operators are in compliance with applicable international standards at all times, in view of the recent investigation reported on in the Pakistani Parliament which revealed that a large share of pilot licenses issued in Pakistan are invalid,” the EASA told AeroTime. The Third Country Operator (TCO) will be suspended effective from July 1, 2020, for a period of 6 months. The airlines have the right to appeal against this decision. PIA’s management is already in contact with the EASA, according to Baaghi TV.
European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) letter time PIA suspending operations of Pakistan’s national carrier for six months. pic.twitter.com/hHkokiygyp— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) June 30, 2020
The Pakistani airline industry has been at the center of a scandal for the past week since the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) revealed that 262 out of 860 active Pakistani pilots had not sat the pilot exams themselves and that in total, 40% of pilots, including inactive ones, held “fake” licenses. Pakistan International Airlines immediately suspended 150 of its 426 pilots.
The result of the investigation was revealed on the same day as the preliminary report into the PK8303 crash, which blames the flight crew and the air traffic controllers for the accident that killed 97 people on May 22, 2020.
After an evaluation of all foreign pilots, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) chose to suspend the 27 Pakistani nationals operating on its soil. 12 of them had active contracts (11 with Vietjet Air and 1 with Jetstar Pacific).