The United States Department of Transportation (DoT) has revoked the special permission granted to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate direct flights to the US amid COVID-19 pandemic.
The authority has reasoned ‘serious safety concerns’ behind the decision as the fallout from the Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, regarding the pilots’ dubious licenses, continue.
The ban has come days after the European Union and the United Kingdom revoked PIA’s flight permit.
The airline was notified of the decision via an email, confirmed PIA’s spokesperson, Abdullah Hafeez Khan.
The authorization was revoked due to recent events identified by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority that are of serious concern to aviation safety, specifically matters pertaining to the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.
Direct Flights to the USA
In April, the US transport authority had granted PIA permission to operate 12 direct flights to the US to repatriate stranded people. Until now, the national flag carrier had operated six flights to different US cities. It was for the first time that PIA operated direct flights to the US, which was being seen as a landmark in the national airline’s history.
Spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez declared it a setback for PIA.
However we are keeping very close coordination with US Department of Transportation and we sincerely hope that with the reformative process already underway, they will review their decision to revoke the permissions.
Following the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority’s flight suspension, several countries, including Malaysia, have barred Pakistani pilots from flying planes until the authentication of their licenses from the Pakistani authorities.
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