TAXILA: European skies are expected to open for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the next two months as the government is utilising all technical and diplomatic means to resolve the ban issue, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said on Friday.
“PIA is in contact with European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) to allay their concerns and take necessary corrective measures along with filing an appeal against the decision on Aug 31,” Mr Khan said, adding there is room for the appeal against the EASA ban and the government will file it.
The EUSA suspended PIA’s authorisation to operate in EU states after the grounding of 262 Pakistani pilots whose licences were termed “dubious”.
Following the EASA’s move, the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority also withdrew PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports in Birmingham, London and Manchester.
Responding to a question, the minister said PIA was currently managing European flight operations through “court sharing” arrangements, under which PIA flies passengers to Istanbul and subsequently they travel to Europe and London. Flight operations to London are being carried out through a Portuguese airliner.
However, he said, these were temporary arrangements and PIA would restore its flight operations in two months.
When asked about the necessity of grounding PIA pilots, he said, steps being taken by the government were aimed at ensuring the highest level of flight safety in PIA operations. The national carrier remains committed to maintaining the highest standards and quality in its air operations, he added.
Earlier, the minister inaugurated the city’s first D-class bus terminal in Taxila.
Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2020