TAXILA: Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that concerns raised by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) over the safety standards of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have been addressed, hoping that the ban on the PIA flights in European countries would be lifted soon.
Talking to media persons in his hometown on Saturday, the federal minister further said that the EASA’s concerns raised regarding the process of issuing licences to commercial pilots have also been addressed. He said that eight new planes are being inducted into the PIA fleet.
Criticising the opposition leaders and its anti-government coalition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Sarwar said that PDM’s tactics will not hinder the process of accountability. He said that PDM is increasing pressure to bargain and the Opposition wants an amendment to the NAB rules.
“Most people of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will not resign. A group within Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will also not resign,” he claimed. He went on to add that the government just wants a show of hands to avoid horse-trading in the Senate elections.
The suspension imposed by the EASA took effect on July 1, 2020, after it came to light that countless pilots possessed “fake” licences. The ban was a big blow to the PIA, which was already under scrutiny across the world due to the recently uncovered pitfalls within Pakistan’s aviation industry.
In December, however, EASA had expressed its satisfaction over certain steps taken by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to improve the situation. The EASA had said a further audit by the agency’s officials was imperative to revoke the ban.
The startling revelations came as the aviation minister presented the interim report on the probe into the May 22 PIA plane crash.
Following the report, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had expressed concern over the “serious lapse in-licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator”.