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I recently wrote about Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) having sacked a third of their pilots due to inaccuracies with their licenses [read: fakes] and now the airlines has been banned in many countries.

Both the E.U. bloc as well as the U.S. have banned Pakistan International from flying into their airspace as a direct consequence of the carrier not being able to properly vet their pilots.

It didn’t take long for this to happen, in fact Europe was first and then the U.S. followed with the Department of Transportation (DOT) issuing the ban on PIA for a six month period.

You can access my initial article here where I wrote about the mass dismissal of their pilots.

Bloomberg reported this week that in a follow up to the situation the DOT has given notice to PIA that it’s flight privileges to U.S. airports have been revoked effective immediately.

Pakistan’s national airline has been barred from flying to the U.S. as a result of a scandal in which almost one-third of the nation’s pilots were found to have faked certifications.

The U.S. Transportation Department notified Pakistan International Airlines Corp.’s lawyers in Washington on July 1 that its authorization to operate to U.S. destinations was being immediately suspended. The department released a copy of the letter on Thursday. …

The Federal Aviation Administration had notified the department on June 30 that all of PIA’s operations to the U.S. should be terminated as a result of the pilot-certification scandal. PIA was flying special flights from destinations including New Jersey and Chicago in June to fly stranded passengers as nations imposed travel restrictions to curb the virus from spreading. …

The U.S. move follows the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s decision last month to ban airlines from Pakistan flying to its member states.

“It is a setback for PIA due to the prevailing scandal,” Pakistan International Airlines spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said by phone. “PIA had worked very hard to get direct flights permission.”

The carrier had received permission to operate 12 flights to the U.S. after a three-year hiatus, according to Khan. It used the permission to fly seven special flights to transport stranded passengers.

These charter flights will be the last ones operated to the U.S. for some time after the DOT order was handed down.

According to Pakistan Airlines website their international routes currently do not include any scheduled U.S. services. They do operate a number of flights to Europe however:

  • Barcelona
  • Copenhagen
  • Milan
  • Oslo (Norway isn’t a EU member state)
  • several flights to the UK (Birmingham, London, Manchester)

The decision to ban PIA from Europe was already made in Brussels in late July.

At the moment the airline still flies to Canada (Toronto) and so far the Canadian government hasn’t announced anything about rescinding the rights for this route.

Being banned from operating flights to both the European Union and United States is a very damaging situation for the airline, not only commercially but also reputation wise. It comes on top of all their other scandals and problems including the pilot licensing issues.

Conclusion

Not there there is a huge demand for flights right now but at least for the repatriation flights it has been useful that PIA was able to fly their citizens home (not that the situation is that great in Pakistan at the moment). Hopefully these flights were operated by “real” pilots with proper licenses.

I’ve never flown that airline but I remember a friend being rebooked onto them last year when her Tokyo to Beijing flight was cancelled and PIA operated a 5th freedom on that route. According to her the flight was horrible – no surprise there.

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