New FAA rating means Pakistan airlines will be subject to additional inspections, be barred from adding new routes
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week downgraded Pakistan’s air safety rating—the latest blow to the country’s beleaguered aviation sector following Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan’s claims in Parliament that a third of all commercial pilots had ‘dubious’ licenses.
News agency Reuters has reported that the U.S. decision was posted on the FAA’s website and has been confirmed by an agency official.
The newly designated Category-2 rating means that the U.S. air safety agency has found Pakistan to be unable to conform to international standards. It would make the Pakistan International Airlines subject to additional inspections at U.S. airports and would bar it from adding any additional flights to its airspace.
Pakistan last month grounded almost a third of its pilots after claiming they had fake degrees or “dubious” licenses.
Prior to the FAA decision, the U.S. Department of Transportation had last week revoked permission for PIA to conduct charter flights to and from the United States for travelers stranded due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the United Kingdom have also suspended PIA’s authorization to ply their airspace for six months in a major blow to the carrier’s operations.
In its defense, Pakistan’s government claims that the bans are “temporary” and would be reversed once the state’s institutions were “purged of corruption.”