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CAA says news of resumption of flights to Europe premature

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The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has stated that it has not issued any official statement regarding the resumption of flights to European countries, and any media reports on this issue should be considered “mere speculation”.

It said that a high-level delegation comprising PCAA senior officials, led by the Secretary Aviation/DG CAA, left for Brussels on May 12 to attend the forthcoming meeting of the Air Safety Committee regarding the resumption of flights of Pakistani airlines.

“The outcome of the meeting will be announced after the due time required to complete internal procedures of the European Commission,” the PCAA statement said.

“It is reminded again that the PCAA has not issued any official statement on the matter, and any media reports on this issue should be considered mere speculation. The PCAA advises that such speculation should be avoided in the interest of the country.”

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Recently, it has been reported that the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), is gearing up to restore its direct flight operations to Paris in June this year, followed by England in August.

It is worth noting the EASA banned the airline from flying to its most lucrative routes in Europe and the UK after the crash of a PIA plane in Karachi killed nearly 100 people and a fake pilot licence scandal erupted later in 2020.

The ban is still in place and has cost the airline nearly Rs40 billion in revenue annually, according to government records presented in parliament.

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Pakistan is currently in the process of privatising its loss-making national airline with PM Shehbaz Sharif seeking the final schedule for the implementation of the sell-off.

A detailed plan for the privatisation was apparently finalised during the caretaker setup, but it needed cabinet approval. It was granted two days before the General Elections, but progress on its PIA’s privatisation has since been slow as the new government took over.

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