US bans PIA flights 'over safety concerns’
The United States on Thursday banned all flights of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) with immediate effect.
According to an announcement made by the US Transport Department, the special permission given to the PIA has been suspended. The US Transport Department said that PIA flights have been banned due to safety concerns. The decision has been taken in the wake of grounding of several pilots in Pakistan over fake licences.
Recently, the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan decided to ground 262 airline pilots whose credentials may have been falsified. The pilots in the line of fire included 141 from the Pakistan International Airlines, nine from Air Blue and 10 from Serene Airline, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan was quoted as saying. The rest of the 262 pilots belong to flying clubs or chartered plane services, he said.
Khan said all the airlines and the clubs had been conveyed that: "Their credentials are dubious, and they shouldn't be allowed to fly." The minister said that five civil aviation officials will be penalised for aiding pilots in getting faking licences.
The government also initiated criminal proceedings and terminated 28 airline pilots for submitting fake college degrees. The PIA said on Thursday it would ground pilots with "dubious" licences.