US demotes Pakistan air-safety ratings to Category 2
The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration has assigned Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority a Category 2 rating because it does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme, the agency said Wednesday.
Under IASA, the FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, or participate in code-sharing arrangements with U.S. partner airlines. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority provides aviation safety oversight for Pakistan.
IASA assessments determine whether foreign civil aviation authorities comply with ICAO safety standards. ICAO is the technical agency for aviation under the United Nations. The organization establishes international standards and recommended safety practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.
A Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards. This rating allows air carriers from that country to establish service to the United States and to carry the code of U.S. carriers through codesharing arrangements.
Air carriers from countries with Category 2 ratings are not allowed to initiate new service to the United States, are restricted to current levels of existing service to the United States, and are not permitted to carry the code of U.S. carriers on any flights. Currently, no airlines operate regularly scheduled flights between Pakistan and the United States.
The move effectively bars any Pakistani airline from flying into the U.S. or participating in a code-share relationship with a U.S. carrier. Currently, no airlines operate regularly scheduled flights between Pakistan and the U.S.
The announcement comes some two weeks after the European Union Aviation Safety Agency suspended the Third Country Operator (TCO) authorization of Pakistani carriers Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Vision Air amid findings that “a large portion” of licenses issued to Pakistani pilots proved invalid.
Those suspensions came some five weeks after the crash of a PIA Airbus A320 in which 97 of 99 aboard died along with one of four people injured on the ground. In an accident report published on June 24, Pakistan’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) said it intended to look more closely at aircrew records "related to their medical fitness, licensing, training records, and personal documents."
The agency also indicated it will review PIA's crew scheduling and rest process for the month before the accident.