IATA satisfied with PIA performance after audit: report

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IATA satisfied with PIA

LAHORE: A team of international aviation body has completed a major part of its audit of national flag carrier and expressed satisfaction after a debriefing session of the management was conducted.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit Team, which arrived earlier this month on September 07 to review the performance of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has shown satisfaction with the audit process, company’s transparency and collaboration throughout, according to the publication.

An interim debriefing of the management was also conducted at the PIA head office, it said and added that the IATA experts will share the related findings and observations soon.

The four-member team of IATA experts carried out an operational safety audit of different departments of the airline, including its flight operation, ground handling, flight safety and security and engineering.

The safety audit is conducted every two years with the last one done in 2018.

PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik thanked the team and praised them for their professionalism.

PIA not to challenge EU ban

Earlier, a PIA official had confirmed that the airline will not appeal against a six-month ban imposed on its lucrative flights to European locations.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had banned PIA from flying to the bloc in June over safety concerns, days after the country grounded dozens of its pilots over allegedly dubious qualifications.

“We’ve decided that filing an appeal at this stage will be counter-productive,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan told Reuters.

The deadline to appeal expired on Aug 31.

Two civil aviation officials told Reuters that all the stakeholders agreed that an appeal would be a futile exercise until reforms in the regulatory framework and a full probe into the pilots’ scandal were completed.

Opting not to appeal means the ban will remain in force until the end of 2020 – a year in which PIA was to implement a new business plan aimed at making the company profitable by 2023 – via a route rationalization, increasing flights and adding new sectors like Amsterdam.

With more than $4 billion in accumulated losses, PIA was already struggling financially when flights were grounded in March because of the pandemic. Just as it resumed operations in May, a domestic PIA flight crash in Karachi killed 97 of 99 people on board.

An initial inquiry pointed to a number of safety failures, and sparked a disclosure from authorities that nearly a third of PIA’s pilots may have falsified their qualifications, prompting EASA, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other regulators to ban PIA flights.

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