PIA resumes operation for UAE

Dunya News

The spokesman said all passengers must present their negative coronavirus test report to authorities

KARACHI (Dunya News) – The Pakistan International Airline’s (PIA) operation for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been resumed on Wednesday.

The spokesperson for the national carrier said that earlier PIA was operating from UAE to Pakistan to bring back stranded Pakistanis.

The national flag carrier will operate from Pakistan to UAE cities including Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, the spokesman said, adding that all the passengers must undergo coronavirus test 48 hours before the flight departure.

The spokesman went on to say that all the passengers must present their negative coronavirus test report to the authorities concerned at the time of boarding.

CAA seeks explanation from pilots over fake licenses

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has asked the suspended pilots of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to respond in writing within two weeks on the issue of suspicious licenses while show cause notices have been issued by the Director General (DG) of CAA.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, pilots can make a personal statement about the license. In case of non-response, the federal government will be asked to revoke the license.

It is pertinent to mention that the CAA had yesterday suspended the licenses of 34 PIA pilots. Eighteen of these captains were from Karachi while the others were from Lahore and Islamabad. Sources said that the licenses of these pilots have been suspended after forensic audit.

28 pilots fired

Earlier, the national carrier fired 28 pilots found to have tainted licenses, the company s spokesman said, the latest chapter in a scandal that emerged in the wake of the Airbus A320 crash in Karachi in May.

An inquiry into the May 22 crash that killed 97 people on board resulted in the stunning revelation that 260 of 860 pilots in Pakistan had cheated on their pilots exams, but were still given licences by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The government later fired five officials of the regulatory agency and criminal charges against them are being considered. According to news reports Wednesday, 262 pilots are currently grounded in Pakistan.

The scandal has shocked the nation, including the families of those passengers who died when the flight PK8303 went down in a congested residential area while trying to land in the port city of Karachi. There were only two survivors on board and a girl died on the ground. 

The revelations of tainted pilot licenses have also embarrassed the government and shaken the top ranks of Pakistan International Airlines.

The national airline, once considered among the finest, has deteriorated over the decades as successive governments doled out patronage by giving jobs at PIA to supporters. As a result - at roughly 450 employees to each of its 31 aircraft - PIA has one of the word s highest employee to aircraft ratio in the industry. Most airlines have less than 200 employees per aircraft. The ratio is considered a key benchmark in calculating an airline s productivity.

When the International Monetary Fund gave Pakistan a $6 billion loan, it demanded an audit of PIA by the end of 2019, a deadline that was missed.