European Union allows PIA flights ‘conditionally’ after previously banning them

PIA was given a chance to respond, but EASA deemed it unsatisfactory.

According to a private media outlet, the European Union (EU) has given conditional permission to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate scheduled return flights to Pakistan.

The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) had earlier banned and suspended the authorization for PIA from carrying out scheduled or unscheduled flights into the EU for six months.

In the aftermath of the ban, the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan urgently contacted all the ambassadors of the EU member states.

At the request of the Foreign Secretary, the EU has allowed PIA to operate flights until July 3, after which PIA aircrafts would be able to use the airspace of the United Kingdom (UK) and European countries from July 1 to 3.

The EASA’s earlier unconditional suspension of PIA followed the grounding of 262 Pakistani pilots whose licenses the country’s federal aviation minister termed as “dubious.”

Interestingly, the airline was already under talks with EASA last year after having committed six “Level 2” infringements, according to EASA guidelines. Five of those were corrected, yet one still remained erroneous. This had caused concern amongst the agency executives.

However, the nail in the coffin was the crash of flight PK8303, which had exposed the shortcomings of the airline for the world to see.

PIA was earlier given a chance to respond, but EASA had deemed it unsatisfactory. However, the carrier still had the option to file an appeal within two months of the notification, and its request for the conditional extension has been granted.

A PIA spokesman also informed that the Foreign Ministry, Pakistan’s ambassador to the EU, and the PIA administration were in constant touch with the EU officials.

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