Europe suspends PIA over fake pilot licenses
Islamabad : European Union regulators have suspended Pakistan International Airlines for six months after the airlines grounded nearly one third of its pilots over dubious license.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) told PIA "it is still not sure" if all the remaining pilots are properly qualified, and "they have lost their confidence" in the airline, PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan told AFP.
In a statement, the EASA said it had suspended PIA and a smaller private Pakistan airline "in view of the recent investigation reported on in the Pakistani Parliament which revealed that a large share of pilot licenses issued in Pakistan are invalid".
Only limited international flights have been operational due to coronavirus pandemic.
A resumption of domestic operations last month was followed by a crash blamed on pilot error that killed 98 people.
PIA had recently resumed bookings for five European capitals cities, including Paris, Milan and Barcelona.
Flights to Britain, which is no longer in the EU, had not been affected, Khan said.
The EU suspension is the latest fallout for PIA after the aviation minister told parliament last week that a government review had found 262 of Pakistan's 860 active pilots hold fake licenses or cheated on exams.
More than half of them were from PIA, and the airline said it would immediately ground 141 of its 434 pilots.