BRUSSELS: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended air operations of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) in Europe for six months.
According to a PIA spokesperson, the move follows the grounding of 262 pilots whose licences were termed ‘dubious’ by the Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
The national carrier has also issued a statement in this regard. The statement said, “EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of 6 months effective July 1, 2020, with the right to appeal against this decision.”
The statement further said, “The suspension will take effect on July 1, 2020, at 12 noon UTC time. Therefore, all PIA flights to Europe have been temporarily cancelled.”
“All passengers who have a PA booking to European destinations will have the option to either extend their dates or get a full refund,” read the notification.
The statement also said, “PIA is in constant contact with EASA to allay their concerns and to take necessary corrective measures along with filing the appeal against the decision.”
“It is hoped that the suspension will end soon due to the remedial steps taken by the Pakistan government and the administration,” the statement added.
Earlier on June 26, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had announced that 262 airline pilots, whose credentials may have been falsified, will be immediately grounded.
The Aviation Minister said that the pilots included 141 from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), nine from Air Blue, 10 from Serene Airline, and 17 from Shaheen Airlines.
Meanwhile, airline pilots and their union have raised questions on the list of 262 pilots with “dubious” credentials, saying it is full of discrepancies. The Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA) has also raised doubts about the list.