European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) refused to lift ban on PIA flights to Europe

 PIA was expecting to resume flights to UK and EU after the ICAO clearance

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has refused to lift the ban imposed on the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to travel to European countries and the UK on the basis of the audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

EASA had suspended the authorisation for Pakistani airlines to operate in Europe first for six months and then indefinitely in the wake of PIA’s PK8303 crashing in Karachi two years ago.

On January 5, the ICAO had issued a statement confirming that Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) and Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA) audit conducted by its team from November 29 to December 10 had found that Pakistan had addressed the Significant Safety Concern (SSC).

Following the findings of the audit, PIA CEO Arshad Malik had written a letter to the EASA to lift the ban. In his two-page response sent on January 20, EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky wrote that while the development was an important step towards potential lifting of suspension of PIA’s authorisation, it was important to address the overall oversight capacity of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA).

“As indicated in our letter dated 31 March 2021, the emerging situation on the above-mentioned SSC indicated serious degradation of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority certification and oversight capabilities. Such information shall be taken [into account] by EASA when lifting the suspension,” the letter read.

It added that the EU Commission would continue to engage with the PCAA and monitor further measures adopted and actions taken to address the situation in Pakistan, including the outcome of a Union on-site assessment visit to the country.

EASA would conduct its own audit of the PIA prior to lifting of the restrictions in accordance with Article 235(d) of the TCO Regulation (EU) No 452/2014.

 “EASA shall conduct an audit of the operator prior to lifting the suspension. Since deficiencies in the State oversight were a contributor to the suspension decision, such audit will have to include an assessment to verify if these deficiencies have been properly addressed and corrected,” the letter added.

The safety agency also hinted that it may hire third country services to conduct an audit of the CAA/PIA. The on-site assessment will depend on the emerging cases of coronavirus, it added.

The PIA landed in hot water in the wake of its flight PK8303 crashing in Karachi on May 22, 2020, and the subsequent announcement by Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan of the grounding of 262 airline pilots suspected of dodging their exams.

                                                                       Web Desk

No comments

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Powered by Blogger.