Another blow to PIA as US revokes permission to operate special direct flights

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The United States has revoked the permission granted to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate a number of special direct flights to the US. — Courtesy photo
The United States has revoked the permission granted to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate a number of special direct flights to the US. — Courtesy photo

ISLAMABAD — The United States has revoked the permission granted to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate a number of special direct flights to the US.



The permission was withdrawn "due to recent events identified by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority that are of serious concern to aviation safety, specifically matters pertaining to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," the US Transport Department told the PIA in an email.

The move follows the grounding of 262 airline pilots in Pakistan over fake licenses in a decision made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan.

The US transport authority had given the PIA permission to operate 12 direct flights to the US to repatriate people stranded by the coronavirus pandemic. The airline had so far operated six of the flights to different US cities, Dawn, the leading English-language daily in Pakistan reported.

It was the first time that Pakistan's national flag carrier operated direct flights to the US. “It is a setback for us,” the PIA spokesman was quoted as saying.

"However we are keeping very close coordination with the US Department of Transportation and we sincerely hope that with the reformative process already underway, they will review their decision to revoke the permissions of special flights operating from Pakistan directly to the US and back,” the spokesman added.

The revelation made by the Pakistani government that some of the country’s pilots have “dubious” credentials has dealt a series of blows to the national airline, as well as Pakistani pilots, engineers and ground staff

According to reports, Kuwait Air, Omar Air and Vietnam Airlines have grounded the Pakistani staff until a report confirming their credentials is received from the Pakistani authorities".

Earlier, the European Union put a ban on Pakistani airlines. — Agencies

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