Continued negligence by the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has lowered the carrier’s safety rating to a critical level.
The Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) programme, launched by the European Civil Aviation Conference in 1996, enforces international safety standards within the European community.
In order to abide by the standard set by SAFA, third-country aircrafts landing at airports located in the EU member states undergo ramp inspections (or “ramp checks”).
An official revealed that recent inspections have lowered the PIA SAFA level to the critical bar and any further findings could prove to be critical for its voyage to foreign destinations.
The official said:
At a time when the national airline is already going through a crisis; along with low profitability, these kinds of issues will further destroy its image and could result in practical problems for the airline.
PIA to Take Strict Measures
The PIA management issued a circular on October 4, to ensure strict adherence of the airline’s procedures and policies, in order to dodge any further findings followed by SAFA inspection.
The circular stated:
All pilots are, therefore, advised to pay close attention to personal and on-board document validity on all flights. In addition, ‘no smoking’ policy must be adhered to at all times.
The management appealed to its crew, warning them of the consequences of any personal lapse leading to findings in SAFA evaluation.
“Your cooperation and professionalism in this regard shall help our airline to arrest the rising SAFA index,” announced the management.
PIA’s Reputation at Stake
According to an official, the airline’s decision to hold its employees responsible for the discrepancies faced by PIA may disrepute the airline.
He further added that the issues pertaining the airline are not a responsibility of the flight crew, but are rather a result of a lack of overall maintenance and proper flight-related documents.
The airline’s negligence regarding maintenance was further highlighted by the official who stated that PIA’s flight PK-284 was reported to have several technical and managerial issues when inspected by UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority on October 5.
The management has to set things right on a war footing basis because the airline is already facing so many issues and any reduction in foreign operations will badly affect its finances.
What PIA Has to Say?
Upon inspection, PIA spokesman regarded the SAFA inspections as routine, aimed to provide the airlines with findings that undergo contestation before the exact weightage of the issue is finalised.
In this case SAFA inspections have not been finalised yet and we don’t have any intimation from them.
The spokesman added:
We intend to bring a good safety culture within the organisation, so we regularly issue such circulars. It has nothing to do with SAFA activities.
He further added that the letter was circulated as a mere exercise PIA conducts on a weekly/monthly basis to avoid its employees from being lethargic.