Pakistan’s airspace has been reopened to civil aviation with immediate effect, its aviation authority said on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff
Passenger operations have collapsed at an unprecedented rate as the virus spreads around the world, with Delta Air Lines Inc parking more than 600 jets, cutting corporate pay by as much as 50 per cent, and scaling back its flying by more than 70% until demand begins to recover.
The countries, which grounded the Pakistani pilots and asked the Aviation Division to verify their credentials, included the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey and Bahrain.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the joint-venture established between ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies, and Wizz Air Holdings Plc, has received national carrier status from the UAE government, subject to meeting regulatory standards prior to beginning operations.
The US Department of Transportation had in April granted PIA permission to operate 12 direct flights to the US to repatriate people stranded by the coronavirus pandemic.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said the management has now written to the Civil Aviation Authority to urgently provide the list of other licences found to be dubious and all of them will be indefinitely grounded pending inquiries against them.
The 262 pilots grounded on Friday included 141 from PIA, nine from Air Blue, 10 from Serene Airline, 17 from Shaheen Airlines, which has closed down, Sarwar said.
Airlines in 10 countries had demanded proof of valid flying licences for their Pakistani pilots after it emerged about a third of Pakistan International Airlines aviators were holding "bogus or suspicious" licences. In all, the foreign airlines asked for proof of 176 Pakistani pilot licences.
A senior official at the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has said that during the month of October, aircrafts flying over UAE airspace averaged around 1,000 planes a day, an increase of more than 200% in comparison with the volume of air traffic last April.