EU, US reopen to Pakistani airlines after CAA clears ICAO safety audit


File photo of a PIA aircraft.

Pakistani airlines are expected to begin operating flights to the United States, United Kingdom and Europe soon after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) cleared a security audit conducted by the United States. international civil aviation (ICAO), we learned on Wednesday.

ICAO, a United Nations aviation body, advised Pakistan in September 2020 to take prompt corrective action and stop issuing new pilot licenses after learning that bogus licenses may have been issued to unscrupulous elements. .

The revelation came following a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash in May last year, which resulted in the deaths of 97 passengers and crew.

Pakistani pilots have faced sanctions after the aviation minister told the National Assembly that a third of them had questionable or bogus licenses.

Read more: Pakistan aviation authority hopes to resume licenses in February

Following the scandal, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) took a serious decision and suspended the TCO (Third Country Operator) authorization for Pakistani carriers.

Image shows ICAO letter written to CAA.
Image shows ICAO letter written to CAA.

The United States has also demoted Pakistan to Category 2, which means that no aircraft of Pakistani origin have been allowed into American territory.

In his January 4 letter to DG CAA Khaqan Murtaza, ICAO Deputy Director Denis Guindon wrote that the committee had conducted the audit in December 2021 and “determined that the measures taken by Pakistan had resolved with success of the SSC (Significant Safety Concern) ”.

“I wish to refer to the Significant Safety Concern (SSC / PEL-01 / 09-2020 / PAK) which was issued in Pakistan on September 18, 2020 as well as the Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA) of Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP). ) audit which was carried out by an ICAO team in Pakistan from November 29 to December 10, 2021. “

During the audit, the committee reviewed the corrective actions taken and related evidence presented by Pakistan to respond to the SSC regarding the state licensing system, in particular regarding reviews conducted by the CAA and by training organizations delegated or appointed before issuance. licenses and ratings.

“In accordance with the USOAP SSC process, […] the ICAO SSC Validation Committee reviewed relevant actions and evidence validated in Pakistan. The Committee determined that the measures taken by Pakistan had successfully resolved the SSC, ”the letter said.

The ICAO official also thanked the aviation authority for the assistance provided during the audit mission and reiterated his appreciation for Pakistan’s active commitment to achieve its safety objectives. .

CAA approaches UK and EU

On this achievement, CAA said it was a historic milestone for Pakistan and appreciated the efforts of the entire regulatory team behind this success.

After passing the safety audit, the PCAA began to contact the UK CAA and the European Commission to convey the resolution of the safety issues by ICAO.

The CAA said that emphasis will be placed on clearing the operations of Pakistani registered airlines to the UK and Europe as soon as possible and hopes the clearances will be issued soon.


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