MIAMI – Hard times for Pakistan International Airlines (PK), linked to operational safety standards, may soon be over as the carrier passes with success the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). The announcement was made public by Pakistan’s The Express Tribune on April 8.

These positive results put PK halfway to the resumption of flights to Europe, the UK, and the US after a ban, in effect since mid-2020, as a consequence of an accident that occurred on May 22, 2020. During an approach to Karachi (KHI) airport, a PK aircraft crashed, causing the death of 98 people.

One month later, a scandal, drawing worldwide attention and concerning 30% of 860 pilots flying with fake licenses, rocked the airline and resulted in a flight ban from EU, UK, and US.

PIA Boeing 777-300ER AP-BID – Photo : Alberto Cucini/Airways

A Long History of Incidents


The accident put an end to PK to operating direct flights to the US, compelling the carrier to continue to reach US airports only thru an intermediate stop, mainly in the UK, until a complete stop and ban was issued after the May 22 accident and the pilot’s license scandal.

PIA has to go through the second half of these liberating audits when the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority undergoes an audit to be performed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The airline had to go thru the IOSA certification audit to regain confidence from countries and from travelers. The renewed IOSA, first obtained by PK in 2005, will remain valid until June 2023 and covers aspects ranging from flight operations, flight services (cabin operations), quality assurance, safety management, security services, engineering and maintenance, ground handling, flight dispatch and cargo operations.


Featured Image: Pakistan Intl. Airlines AP-BGY Boeing 777-200(LR) Photo credits: Casey Groulx/Airways