ICAO withdraws safety objection after Pakistan pilot scandal

ICAO withdraws safety objection after Pakistan pilot scandal

ICAO withdraws safety objection after Pakistan pilot scandal

The Pakistan International Airline (PIA). Image: File

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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has said Pakistan’s civil aviation regulator claimed to have resolved major safety concerns that arose from a scandal over fake pilot licences in 2020.

Pakistan grounded 262 airline pilots in June 2020 after they were suspected of cheating on mandatory licence tests. The scandal had tainted Pakistan’s aviation industry and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which European and US aviation regulators barred from their territories.

“It has withdrawn its objection on significant safety concerns,” a spokesperson for Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority, Saifullah Khan, told Reuters.

The scandal came to light following the crash of a PIA plane in May 2020 in Karachi, in which 97 people were killed. 

Read more: ICAO satisfied with CAA’s performance in airworthiness sector: sources

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Following the scandal, the ICAO asked Pakistan to undertake immediate corrective action and suspend the issuing of any new pilot licences.

A nine-member ICAO committee carried out a 10-day audit in Pakistan, which was concluded in December last year.

“The Committee determined that the actions taken by Pakistan had successfully resolved significant safety concerns,” Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) distributed a statement as per Reuters.

The CAA hoped it could resume licensing pilots in February.

PIA issued a statement citing chief executive Arshad Malik as welcoming the ICAO conclusion as a positive development for aviation in Pakistan, which would pave the way for the resumption of PIA flights to Britain and the rest of Europe.

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