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PIA flights to EU, UK

After a hiatus of almost two years, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is all set to resume flight operations for EU states and the United Kingdom (UK) from February this year. The development has come after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) gave a hint of lifting the ban on the national flag carrier. Back in 2020, the European Union Safety Agency (EUSA) had suspended PIA’s authorisation to operate in EU states after the grounding of 262 Pakistani pilots whose licences were termed “dubious”. Following the EUSA’s move, the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority also withdrew PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Though the possible revival of flight operations is a positive development, yet the PIA has to be more cautious about its affairs. For the last two decades, PIA has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The affairs of PIA have been a mess for the last many years, but the concerned authorities have failed to take remedial measures. Delayed flights, near mishaps, overloaded aircraft, pilots reportedly flying in a state of inebriation, crude behaviour by cabin crew, lackadaisical in-flight service, rundown interiors, and complaints about substandard food have become its hallmark. The severe financial crunch PIA has faced for a long time is not a secret. Like other state-run entities, government has miserably failed to improve PIA’s standards, which has been in shambles for a long time. PIA was one of world’s leading airlines until the 1970s, slowly and steadily it has managed to run its reputation to ground, and it is a series of unfortunate ineffective and myopic policies that have made PIA synonymous with various controversies over the years.

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After a hope has been given about revival of its operations to EU and UK, more serious efforts on part of the concerned authorities are needed to work out ways and means to keep PIA free from controversies and make it a service at par with international standards.



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