RAWALPINDI: The accounts of Pakistan Inter­n­ational Airlines were frozen by the Federal Board of Revenue on Wednesday at a time when a team from the European Union’s Avi­ation Safety Agency (EAS­A) is in Pakistan. Furth­ermore, the Pakistan State Oil threatened to stop oil supply to the airline if outstanding dues were not settled by today (Thursday).

A spokesman for PIA told Dawn it was unfortunate that the FBR decided to freeze its accounts at a time when a delegation from EASA is in the country to assess issues related to flight safety.

The airline management, the spokesman added, was in touch with the FBR, which had frozen 28 PIA accounts so far. “The management is hopeful that the issue will be resolved soon.” In 2020, EASA barred PIA from operating flights to Europe after a plane crashed in Karachi on May 22, 2020.

The restrictions were imposed in the light of a statement by former aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan in parliament that 40 per cent of Pakistani pilots had questionable qualifications.

The four-member EASA delegation carried out an inspection of PIA’s operation, apron, engineering area and flight safety tools in Karachi on Wednesday.

The team reviewed measures taken by the Civil Aviation Authority regarding pilot licences and airworthiness on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2023

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