Facing the same EU flight ban as Nepal Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) decides not to appeal the decision

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) banned PIA from flying to the bloc in June over safety concerns, days after the country grounded dozens of its pilots over allegedly dubious qualifications. This put the airline in the same situation as NAC. However, the approach to the ban has been widely different. PIA decided NOT TO APPEAL the decision!

First of all, the airline’s expansion plans are now on hold, and the airline will revise its turnaround strategy in consultation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It also conducted an internal inquiry into its personnel resulting in 177 employee being fired for fake education certificates, negligence of duty, damage to property, bribery, smuggling or drug use. The PIA spokesperson said “The accountability process in PIA is being brought to a logical conclusion as soon as possible so that the institution can be cleansed of black sheep.”

Secondly, the airline will undergo an IATA Operation and Safety Audit (IOSA) this week. This is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines. The hope is that they will be able to demonstrate proper quality standards in the operation and safety of the airlines. If they pass (or after they rectify any negative findings), they hope to be able to convince the EASA to lift the ban.

Comparing this to the situation in Nepal highlights a major contrast in the approaches. First of all, Nepal Airlines is NOT a member of IATA. There is not really an excuse for that since the majority of neighboring airlines are members: Air China, Air India, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, China Eastern, Indigo, Pakistan International Airlines, and Sri Lankan Airlines. IATA members are required to pass regular IOSA audits and maintain ISO 9001 certified Quality Management Systems. In addition, PIA’s three-prong approach to the situation is exemplary: remove incompetence, develop sound business plan (with international partners), install and certify quality processes.

File Photo: Pakistan International Airlines at Kathmandu

Aviation experts agree that EASA’s ban on PIA will be lifted at the end of the year after they go through this process. But in Nepal, even if the CAAN reform bill finally gets approved in parliament, NAC still faces major challenges before it can be regarded as a safe and viable airline. The kind of program undertaken by PIA is mandatory at NAC if it wants to get rehabilitated.

First of all, the airline’s expansion plans are now on hold, and the airline will revise its turnaround strategy in consultation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It also conducted an internal inquiry into its personnel resulting in 177 employee being fired for fake education certificates, negligence of duty, damage to property, bribery, smuggling or drug use. The PIA spokesperson said “The accountability process in PIA is being brought to a logical conclusion as soon as possible so that the institution can be cleansed of black sheep.”

Secondly, the airline will undergo an IATA Operation and Safety Audit (IOSA) this week. This is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines. The hope is that they will be able to demonstrate proper quality standards in the operation and safety of the airlines. If they pass (or after they rectify any negative findings), they hope to be able to convince the EASA to lift the ban.

Aviation experts agree that EASA’s ban on PIA will be lifted at the end of the year after they go through this process. But in Nepal, even if the CAAN reform bill finally gets approved in parliament, NAC still faces major challenges before it can be regarded as a safe and viable airline. The kind of program undertaken by PIA is mandatory at NAC if it wants to get rehabilitated.

On July, The FAA pushes Pakistan’s flight safety drop to ranking level 2

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