US bars Pakistani flights after pilot-license scandal

Planes sit on the tarmac at Islamabad International Airport on May 8, 2018. (AFP/File)
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Updated 16 July 2020

US bars Pakistani flights after pilot-license scandal

  • Also, US airlines can’t sell seats on Pakistani flights
  • Pakistan International Airlines, said it fired 28 pilots found to have tainted licenses

WASHINGTON: The United States downgraded the safety rating of Pakistan’s aviation system and will block Pakistan’s airlines from launching service to the US.
The move announced Wednesday follows revelations that nearly one-third of Pakistan’s pilots cheated on exams but still received licenses from the country’s civil-aviation authority.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said that it put Pakistan in a so-called category 2 rating, which means airlines from Pakistan can’t start new flights to the US Also, US airlines can’t sell seats on Pakistani flights, a practice called code-sharing that is common among other international airlines.
There currently aren’t any regularly scheduled flights between the US and Pakistan.
The FAA said Pakistan’s aviation system doesn’t comply with safety standards set by the United Nations aviation authority, the International Civil Aviation Organization. The FAA did not detail the shortcomings.
The scandal over pilot licenses in Pakistan emerged from an investigation into a crash in May in Karachi that killed 97 people. The inquiry determined that 260 of 860 pilots in Pakistan cheated on their pilots tests but still got licenses.
The state carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, said it fired 28 pilots found to have tainted licenses. The government fired five officials of the civil aviation agency and is considering criminal charges.
The European Union’s counterpart to the FAA has banned Pakistan International Airlines from flying to Europe for at least six month.


King Salman congratulates President Alvi on Pakistan’s Independence Day

Updated 13 August 2020

King Salman congratulates President Alvi on Pakistan’s Independence Day

  • The Saudi king wished the Pakistani president good health and prayed for the prosperity of Pakistani people
  • Saudi envoy in Islamabad also recorded an Independence Day message in Urdu that went viral on social media

ISLAMABAD: King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud sent a message of felicitation to Pakistan’s President Dr. Arif Alvi on Thursday, congratulating him on the 74th Independence Day of his country that will be celebrated on Friday.
The king reached out to the Pakistani head of the state on behalf of his government and people of Saudi Arabia, wishing him good health and praying for the progress and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.
Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki also recorded an Independence Day message in Urdu that went viral on social media. 

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed cordial relations with each other. The Kingdom has been among of the biggest job providers to Pakistanis and the greatest source of foreign remittances for the South Asian nation.
The two countries have also witnessed leadership level exchanges since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government assumed the political leadership of Pakistan. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman undertook a high-profile visit to Islamabad in February 2019, and Prime Minister Imran Khan also went to the Kingdom several times during his tenure in the office.
The Saudi king and ambassadors are also among the first foreign leaders and envoys who have issued the Independence Day messages to congratulate the government and people of Pakistan.