Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was not on the privatisation list, the country's Aviation Minister told the Senate. Winding up a discussion on a calling-attention notice on the suspension of PIA flights in European Union countries, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told the Senate on Friday that the restructuring of the flag carrier was on the cards, reports Dawn news.
"We will not privatise PIA rather bring reforms in it and restructure it," he said, adding that the government wanted to bring the airline back to its days of glory. He rejected the allegation that his statement on dubious licences of pilots was an effort to bring the state-owned airline to the verge of collapse to pave way for its privatisation.
Khan said criminal cases would be lodged against those who issued these licences as money was involved in the matter He said the European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) ban on PIA flights in EU countries and three cities of the UK had been imposed neither due to the PIA plane crash in Karachi nor because of his statement that some of PIA pilots possessed fake degrees.
"This is an old issue as the PIA has been facing questions on safety standards since 2007." The Minister said this was not the first time that the EASA had suspended PIA operations in EU countries.
The operations of some of the PIA planes had remained banned from 2007 to 2009 on safety issues and after this, the airline was under surveillance due to safety hazards. The EASA had in 2019 given its six observations on the PIA to comply with till June 30, 2020.
"Five of its observations have been addressed and the sixth one on safety standards has yet to be complied with," Dawn news quoted the Minister as saying. The Minister said the ban would remain in force for two months till the end of August, but the government was going into an appeal by the end of July.