FAA lowers Pakistan’s air safety rating and bans flights to US

Markus Mainka

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has downgraded the international safety rating of Pakistan’s aviation and banned Pakistani airlines from offering new services to the United States.

On July 15, 2020, the FAA, under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, found that the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority was not complying with ICAO safety standards. Thus, the South Asian country was officially downgraded to a Category 2 rating.

Category 2 rating countries are not allowed to operate new routes to the United States and are not permitted to carry codeshares flights with U.S. carriers. No airline has operated scheduled direct flights between Pakistan and the United States since 2017.

On July 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation already revoked the permission for Pakistan International Airlines to conduct charter flights to the United States after “serious concern to aviation safety” was identified.

After the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) revealed that 40% of pilots, including inactive ones, held “fake” licenses, the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) suspended the country’s flag carrier, from operating to and from the European Union. The ban came into force on July 1, 2020, for a period of six months.

The results of the PCAA review were published in the aftermath of the crash of PIA Flight PK8303 that killed 97 people on May 22, 2020. Early findings pointed at the negligence of the pilots and the lack of adequate reaction from the air traffic controllers.


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