MIAMI – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced today that it assigned Pakistan a Category 2 rating as the country does not fulfill its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program standards.

FAA’s IASA assessments rely on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and evaluate if a foreign civil aviation meet them.

The decision comes a week after the US Department of Transportation (DOT) banned all flights from Pakistan International Airlines (PK) following controversy on fake pilots licenses that has been facing since last month.

PK is the most affected Pakistani airline with FAA decision on safety rating.
PK Boeing 777 200LR (AP-BGZ).
Photo: Alvin Man.

Category 2 Implications

Even when PK had suspended part of its Pilots due to dubious licenses, today the US organism decided to change its air operations arrangements with Pakistan.

While IASA’s Category 1 rating means that the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards, Category 2 entails that airlines are not allowed to fly to the US for not meeting demand there.

As FAA put Pakistan in this later status, now companies are not authorized to initiate new services nor to carry the code of American carriers.

Further, Pakistani airlines are restricted to current levels of existing service. However, FAA stated that there were no operative scheduled flights between Pakistan and the US at this moment.

DOT-FAA Headquarters at Washington, D.C.
Photo: Matthew Bisanz.

Fake Licenses Splatter

Besides PK, Serene Air (ER), and Air Blue (PA) are also dotted on fake pilots permissions news, but FAA decision does not affect them.

Both carriers only operate domestic flights and a few ones to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), respectively.

Pakistan International Airlines 777-300ER
Image Courtesy of Eluveitie

Pakistan-US Flight Suspensions

Due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) already suspended services between the two countries.

At the end of last month, Pakistani Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that 40% of their pilots had fake licenses, that is to say, arround 860.

While PK pulled out from its payroll 150 of them, the rest remain active in ER and PA payrolls and also in a non-active status.