Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Vision Air International (PVT) may not operate flights to destinations in the European Union for at least six months, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) tells NU.nl on Tuesday. Pakistan currently has at least 262 pilots grounded for fraudulent and questionable certifications.
According to EASA, safety for European passengers can no longer be guaranteed. “There are concerns about Pakistan: it is not certain that the country will be able to adhere to international flight standards.”
The national airline PIA operates passenger flights to France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, among others, while Vision Air International mainly handles cargo flights.
However, in recent weeks mainly PIA has come under attack. An investigation by the Pakistan Ministry of Aviation found that 141 pilots of the organization had fraudulently obtained their certification. Some certificates were also found to be incorrect.
The ministry then suspended a further 121 pilots from various airlines. This means that about a third of all pilots in Pakistan are out of service.
PIA plane crashed last month
The case is sensitive, as 97 people were killed in a crash of a PIA device last month. The initial research results show that these pilots did not adhere to the designated procedures. It is not known whether the pilots had a fraudulent license.
The investigation into questionable pilot licenses was started in 2018. After a crash, irregularities were found on the flight certificate of the involved pilot, while a second pilot passed an exam while not even in the country.