The European Union Aviation Safety Agency on Monday (local time) suspended flight operations of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for a period of six months after it failed to fully develop its software application for safety data management within the earlier given stipulated time.
This order has been issued after Pakistan’s Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan disclosed in the National Assembly that many pilots have dubious licenses following which the PIA announced that 141 pilots holding fraudulent licenses have been grounded.
“The software application, proposed by the operator, for safety data management, risk assessment and analysis including the statistical analysis and the ability to identify repeated or similar hazards/occurrences is still under development. The Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited indicated that the software development completion requires additional three to four months, which cannot be granted by the EASA, as EASA considers that the operator has been granted a sufficient timeline to eliminate the issues (more than nine months since the issuance of the finding),” said EASA in its letter.
It further said that the submitted documents related to the measurement of safety performance indicators (SPIs) have revealed that some of the SPIs were controlled by different departments with different target settings. “Furthermore, PIA Corporation Limited provided evidence of the correction of the calculation errors of the SPIs for 2018, where EASA found some major inconsistencies, and even illogical, for instance, the input for the SPIs are performed in the flight hours, but the formula calculates the number of landings. Furthermore, the submitted corporate SPIs does not contain all indicators measured by the departments themselves.”
EASA had already granted the PIA Corporation Limited an extension of the corrective action plans (CAP) implementation deadline from May 24 to June 17. “Following the recent tragic events that M/S Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited has faced, including flight PK8303 on 22 May 2020 and the initial findings laid down in the preliminary accident report showing successive breaches of multiple layers of safety defences in the safety management system, EASA is concerned that the safety management system is not achieving its primary objective,” the letter read.
While the PIA has claimed that it has grounded all pilots that were part of the list of fraudulent license holders compiled by the Pakistani authorities, the EASA said that “there are strong indications that a high number of Pakistani pilot licences are invalid.”
“This decision enters into force on Wednesday, 1 July 2020 and has an immediate direct effect on any existing operating permits already issued by the Member States for the M/S Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited’s operations into, within or out of territories to which the EU Treaty applies, and Member States may issue new permits only when the suspension is lifted by EASA.”
“When the period of six months from the date of suspension has expired, EASA may extend the suspension period for an additional 3 months. EASA shall revoke the TCO Authorisation when the suspension period is over if the EASA is not satisfied that successful corrective action has been taken,” the EASA said.