The US has become the latest country to revoke permission for Pakistan International Airlines to operate flights into the country following allegations hundreds of its pilots cheated on their licence exams.
The US Department of Transportation has announced it has revoked permission for PIA to conduct flights to the United States for a period of six months, after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) raised concerns.
Last month, the Pakistani government grounded almost a third of all its registered pilots, after concerns were raised over how they may have obtained their pilot licences. It appears that 284 of the country’s total 860 active and licensed pilots may have achieved their licence by paying others to sit for their examinations.
This comes months after the US and PIA came to an arrangement, for the airline to conduct a series of repatriation flights into the US, following the global outbreak of COVID-19.
The US reportedly made PIA aware of its decision to revoke the airline’s permissions in the country on 1 July via email, citing “recent events identified by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority that are of serious concerns to aviation”.
The email went on to specify that these safety concerns pertain to “the proper certification of certain Pakistani pilots”.
The US has joined the aviation authorities in the UK and the European Union, which have also suspended the operations of PIA for a period of six months.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has temporarily suspended all Pakistani pilots who were working in the country, to ensure the ‘safety’ and ‘security’ of passengers in Malaysia.
The CAAM stated that it was authenticating the licences of Pakistani pilots with the help of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority, and said that any licence holders that could be verified as valid would be immediately reinstated.
Similarly, authorities within the United Arab Emirates have announced precautions to verify the validity of their Pakistani pilots.