PIA resumes Paris flights via makeshift optios

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has resumed its Paris operations under an alternative arrangement, it was reported on Sunday.

On Saturday, a flight carrying 260 passengers left the French capital for Islamabad, a month and half after the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) had suspended the national carrier’s authorisation to operate in its member states for six months, The Express Tribune reported.

The plane also has 2.5 tonnes of cargo on board.

The pakistani flag carrier has made alternative arrangements to resume its operations in European countries through special charter flights.

Following the EASA’s move, the UK Civil Aviation Authority also withdrew PIA’s permit to operate from of its airports in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Later, the US also imposed a ban on flights of the national flag carrier for six months citing dubious licences.

The national carrier has reached an agreement with a Portuguese airliner to resume UK flights.

The Portuguese airliner will operate an Airbus A330 with a capacity of more than 300 seats for the PIA.

According to Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar, the government is utilising all technical and diplomatic means to lift the ban and the PIA would restore its normal flight operations in two months.

The European air safety regulator had imposed the ban in the wake of the grounding of 262 Pakistani pilots whose licences were termed “dubious” by the aviation minister.

The European regulator recently rejected PIA’s appeal and decided to maintain the ban on its flights till December 31

Sarwar said the government would file another appeal against the decision on August 31.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), the union for PIA’s pilots, had alleged that the announcement of the “dubious” licence holders was a planned government move against the pilots to cut their headcount, reports The Express Tribune.

“The malicious efforts of some at the helm of affairs with a mindset to cut the pilots down to size have resulted in PIA being reduced to an airline on paper,” the union said in statement.

It also rejected the government’s list of pilots with licences deemed dubious, and pointed out that it was full of discrepancies, demanding a judicial investigation.

The 262 pilots 109 commercial and 153 airline transport pilots were grounded on June 26, pending conclusion of inquiries against them.