US Department of transportation banned PIA flights from operating to the United States regarding the concerns of pilot license.
PIA had been authorised earlier this year to conduct 12 direct flights to the States. It was basically for the return of people stranded in the US due to pandemic.
PIA spokesman told the US revoked authorisation of seven flights with five still pending.
Concerns of the US Government
Department of transportation highlighted,
”recent events identified by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority that are of serious concern to aviation safety’, specifically matters pertaining to the proper certification of certain Pakistani pilots”
Pakistan Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told the media authorities have found 262 Pakistani pilots have a fake license.
PIA had recently suspended the license of 150 pilots after the questions of authenticity arise. The investigation of PIA Airbus A320 crash in Karachi revealed it was merely due to human error. The plane crash had killed 98 people.
Ultimately, the recent suspension will not cause much financial loss to the airline. PIA did not fly to the States before COVID-19 Pandemic. PIA had officially suspended their flights for USA in 2017. As the airline wasn’t allowed to operate direct flights but rather through Manchester where patients had to go through the security check.
PCCA suspended the license of 34 pilots, 17 previous suspensions of this kind occurred in January 2019. This has been challenged in court.
Aviation authorities demanding license verification of Pakistani Pilots
Several aviation authorities have written to Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority to verify the licenses of pilots.
The European Union has put a similar suspension, banned PIA flights over a dubious license case that is valid for 6 months.
According to the sources, Kuwait air has grounded 7 pilots and 56 engineers. Reportedly, Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Vietnam Airways have compiled lists of Pakistani pilots and ground staff.
On the other hand, grounded pilots have rejected the allegations claiming governments issue list is based on false allegations. Adding, they do not trust the transparency of government-led investigations.