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European Union Extends Restrictions on Pakistani Airlines Amid Ongoing Safety Concerns

The European Union has decided to uphold its restrictions on Pakistani airlines, including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), citing ongoing safety concerns highlighted in recent evaluations. This decision, subject to future reviews, follows an extensive assessment conducted by the EU Air Safety Committee.

In its latest deliberations, the committee concluded that there were insufficient grounds to revise the existing list of air carriers prohibited from operating within the European Union, particularly those certified by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA).

A comprehensive on-site review conducted from November 27 to 30, 2023, scrutinized the PCAA’s safety oversight role, identifying several areas of concern. These included deviations from established safety protocols and significant understaffing within the Flight Standards Directorate, despite the presence of technically skilled professionals.

In response, the PCAA submitted a corrective action plan on May 6, 2024, outlining steps taken to address identified deficiencies. This plan was discussed during a hearing with the EU safety committee in May.

The EU Air Safety Committee emphasized the need for continuous monitoring of safety conditions in Pakistan and suggested regular technical meetings in Brussels before each committee session, along with progress reports from the PCAA.

While maintaining the possibility of inviting the PCAA for additional hearings in future committee meetings, the EU underscored the importance of the government’s ongoing support and leadership stability within the authority.

The commission highlighted that, based on established criteria, there were no current grounds to amend the list of banned air carriers certified in Pakistan. However, EU member states were urged to prioritize ramp inspections of Pakistani carriers to ensure compliance with international safety standards.

Despite these developments, a PCAA spokesperson declined to comment until an official EU statement is released. Aviation experts lamented the missed opportunity to revive PIA’s operations in Europe, considering it a setback for the government’s broader investment efforts.

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