LONDON – Pakistan International Airlines (PK) has announced plans to withdraw its European staff, following license suspensions. This comes after the aftermath of PK8303 and the controversy behind dubious pilot licenses.

According to details from the airline, staff from the following destinations will be withdrawn:

  • Milan, Italy.
  • Oslo, Norway.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Barcelona, Spain.

This news does not come as a surprise for many, as PK decided not to lodge an appeal against the motions of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspension that was made back in June.

According to an airline spokesperson, further directives will be issued to staff later this week.

PK Boeing 777. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Scandal As It Happened


May 22 saw PK8303 crash into a residential area on approach to Karachi Airport (KHI), killing 99 passengers and eight crew. June 24 saw the preliminary report become released to the public, showing the aircraft had initially tried an approach without deploying the landing gear.

That same day, the Pakistani Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan broke the news that around 40% of pilots in Pakistan had fake licenses.

A day after, the airline suspended the 150 suspected fake Pilots, as the consequent investigation showed that a large portion of the Pilots did not actually hold any valid airman certificates. A few days to weeks after, the heavy blows began falling on PK.

PK Airbus A320. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

June 29 saw the UAE block flights from Pakistan in the wake of the accident before EASA suspended the license of the airline a few days after.

July 10 came around, and the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) banned all flights from the airline. A week after, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) got involved and added to the ban, degrading its International Aviation Safety Assessment of the carrier to a Category 2 rating.

PK Airbus A320. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Current International Presence


Whilst the airline is recalling a lot of European staff, over in the UK, it is partially a different story.

On August 6, the airline announced the resumption of service to Manchester (MAN), Birmingham (BHX) and London Heathrow (LHR).

The caveat to the operations is that the aircraft that was used is the HiFly (5K) Airbus A330 as it is not a Pakistani-registered aircraft. Other than that, presence within Europe in particular will now remain quite sparse, especially with no appeal to the suspension going ahead.

Overall, it remains clear that in the situation of PK, a lot of work still needs to be done. The fact that no appeal has been given states its acknowledgement in foul play as well as its responsibility behind it.

PK Boeing 777. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Featured Image: Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777-200. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons