MIAMI – The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has banned all flights from Pakistan International Airlines (PK). This ban follows the six-month ban given by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

The notification has not been publicly published and has supposedly been transferred to PK via direct email. The reasoning behind the ban is said to be due to the licensing issue of PK’s pilots.

Malaysia has also suspended pilots who hold Pakistani licenses, and the United Arab Emirates is currently verifying licenses of Pakistani staff.

Previous Flights to the USA

Even though the U.S. DOT has banned PK for six months, PK has not operated scheduled flights to the USA since 2017. The only recent flights were charter flights returning passengers back to Pakistan.

The last scheduled flights were from Lahore to New York – JFK airport, with a stop in Manchester, UK. This stop was due to the ban on direct flights to the US from Pakistan.

Passengers needed to exit the aircraft, proceed through security, and then rebound the aircraft in Manchester. The return flight from JFK to Lahore was direct.

AP-BEG Airbus A310

Licensing Issues

As we previously reported, Pakistan is currently having problems with pilots having fake licenses. PK in particular has suspended 150 pilots and already fired some of them for having dubious licenses.

The investigation into the licensing of pilots came to light after the accident of PK8303. However, licensing problems of Pakistani pilots extends back much further, with the first investigations beginning at the end of 2018.

Pakistan International Airlines

Pakistan International Airlines has a long history, having been founded in 1946 as Orient Airways. In more recent times, the airlines has had financial problems, and a large number of staff for only having a fleet of 32 aircraft.

Between morale based promotions and large firings, PK has not turned a profit in 15 years. However, things were looking up, as after long negotiations with the U.S. it was expected that flights back to the USA would restart. However, with this new ban, that no longer looks likely.