Pakistan has resolved security issues with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan’s aviation minister has announced, hoping the airline will soon receive approval from US and European authorities to return to the United States and Europe.
The Pakistani national company was banned from flying in Europe and the United States in 2020, a few months after the crash on landing of one of its Airbus A320 in Karachi which had killed 97 people. The accident was attributed to the “negligence” of the pilots during the landing maneuvers. In the process, the Pakistani authorities had recognized the lack of qualification of the Pakistani pilots, of whom 264 out of the 860 then active at PIA held “questionable” licenses, having not passed all the pilot exams.
Since then, the majority of these “questionable” licenses have finally been validated after additional training and training by PIA pilots. Fifty pilots were, however, written off. “We have resolved these significant safety issues,” Pakistani Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said, adding that he hoped “to resume our flight operations to Europe and the United States by February or March.”
“We have come under a lot of criticism over the past two years but we have improved our safety standards,” assured the minister, explaining that Pakistan has signed an agreement with British civil aviation authorities for its pilots to be tested and certified in the UK.