The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has refused to allow Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to resume its flight operations to and from European countries without the safety audit of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and has extended the ban for three months.
The development has been confirmed by a senior PIA official who said that the national carrier had requested the EASA for provisional permission following its fulfillment of several prescribed conditions.
“We have told the EASA that they can conduct a safety audit of PIA, free from CAA, and in the meantime, grant us provisional permission,” he said.
However, the EASA responded that the permission could not be granted until the CAA released its audit report:
The investigation performed by the European Commission and by the ICAO is yet to be concluded. Consequently, as all the preconditions to lift the suspension are not met and, as an audit will be necessary, the agency decided not to revoke your Third Country Operator Authorisation but to extend the suspension period by additional three months.
The official explained that the ban was not on PIA per se but on Pakistan and that it would not be lifted until the regulator brought in reforms that are to the satisfaction of the EASA.
The EASA informed PIA it is investigating the issue of the ‘fake’ pilots’ licenses and that it would review the ban after the stipulated audit, adding that its officials cannot visit Pakistan because of the pandemic.