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Another Setback for Pakistan’s CAA

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

International Civil Aviation Organization has expressed concerns over CAA licenses not matching international requirements

[Editor’s Note: an earlier version of this article had incorrectly stated the role of ICAO. It has now been reworded to accurately reflect the agency’s mandate. We regret this error.]

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has expressed concern over the ability of Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority to issue new licenses to pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers, and flight attendants over international concerns about its safety protocols.

According to sources within the CAA, the ICAO has urged the organization to halt the issuance of all licenses until it can submit a formal reply by Sept. 29 on the measures being undertaken to overcome the concerns; this suggestion is not binding and it is up to the CAA whether or not it opts to act on it. The ICAO has also urged the CAA to expedite the review process of all licenses that have already been issued to ensure they match international requirements.

The CAA is expected to submit a “written response” to the ICAO to alleviate its concerns, with sources saying that if the reply does not meet the international watchdog’s requirements, the ICAO could designate “significant safety concern” status on the CAA. This designation does not necessarily indicate a particular safety deficiency but, rather, indicates to other nations that the state concerned is not providing sufficient safety oversight to ensure the effective implementation of all applicable ICAO Standards.

According to the CAA sources, the ICAO has expressed dissatisfaction over CAA’s licensing process, claiming it ignores international safety standards.

The CAA has been under fire from international bodies since Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan claimed in Parliament that around a third of all registered pilots had “fake” or “dubious” licenses. The CAA has claimed this was misstated, as all its licenses are “genuine,” but admitted that some procedural lapses merited further investigation.

Thus far, around 150 pilots have been suspended over alleged license fraud. The CAA has also dismissed four officers.

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William Raillant-Clark September 24, 2020 - 6:27 pm

Contrary to what you have reported here, our agency is neither designed nor empowered to issue such directives. We are helping Pakistan to recognize these concerns and if they do not take swift action on them we will actively notify other countries about them.

William Raillant-Clark
Communications Officer, ICAO

admin September 24, 2020 - 6:37 pm

Thank you for the clarification. The story has been amended.


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