US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded the safety ranking of the entire Pakistani civilian airline system to category 2.
The latest development follows the revelation made by Minister for Aviation, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, that a major chunk of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) pilots possess fake licenses.
While FAA’s action has certainly compounded PIA’s woes, the decision has also limited the ability of Pakistani airlines to operate in the US.
Known as the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program (IASAP), FAA’s ranking system keeps tabs on the aviation sectors of all countries to ensure they remain in line with the minimum standard for aviation safety set by the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization.
Last month, PIA received special approval from the US Department of Transportation (DoT) to operate direct flights to and from the US till 29 April 2021.
However, earlier this month, DoT revoked the special permission status of the PIA citing serious safety concerns after the startling disclosure by the Aviation Minister about the PIA’s fake licenses scandal.
Besides the US, both the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have already suspended the PIA’s operating permit for the next 6 months, limiting PIA’s ability to fly to and from Europe.
The national flag carrier is set to lose Rs. 33 billion as a direct impact of the ban on flight operations.
Oman to Ban PIA From its Airspace
Omani Civil Aviation Authority (OCAA) has warned to ban PIA from using its airspace as the former has asked the latter to explain the measures taken after the disclosure by the Aviation Minister about fake licenses of most of the national carrier’s pilots.
Responding to the issue, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has assured OCAA that the credentials of all PIA pilots have been checked once again after the airline terminated all pilots with fake licenses.
So far, 7 countries including Malaysia and the UAE have asked CAA to verify the credentials of Pakistani pilots employed in their airlines.