Just as the Aviation Minister expressed high hopes for the lifting of the EU ban for PIA, the body itself has announced plans to extend it by another three months, at least until further inspection by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In the end, what we see is a serious discrepancy between government perceptions of the political climate surrounding the PIA versus actual reality.

Considering the gravity of the implications of the fake pilot license issue, there is a glaring trust deficit between global aviation authorities and those of Pakistan’s. If we are to see PIA become operational within the EU again, protect a rapidly eroding market and regain the respect earned through years of strife and display of competency, then more must be done by the government. However, as it stands today, authorities do not seem to be on the same page as the EU, and thus may not be giving the issue the attention it requires. It is imperative for all our efforts to be focused towards mitigating the losses incurred through this unfortunate oversight. Having high hopes is one thing, but going on about the future without taking into account the actual stance of important bodies is another degree of disillusion that our government cannot practice.

The status quo looks bleak for Pakistan as international flights are severely limited, and prohibited in certain areas of the world. Already, PIA is losing out on its market share and, with such travel bans, the aviation industry can barely export again for the foreseeable future. CAA’s audit is needed immediately so that work can begin and the country’s flag carrier can resume operations.

Published in The News, Dec 28, 2020