KARACHI: The International Civil Aviation Organisation has barred the Civil Aviation Authority from issuing new licences to pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers, and flight attendants over concerns about its safety protocols, it emerged on Thursday.
According to sources within the CAA, the ICAO has directed the organisation to halt the issuance of all licenses and submit a formal reply by Sept 29.
It has also urged the CAA to expedite the review process of all licenses that have already been issued to ensure they match international requirements.
The CAA is expected to submit a “written response” to the ICAO to alleviate its concerns, with sources saying that if the reply does not meet the international watchdog’s requirements, the ICAO could impose a “significant safety concern” status on Pakistan. This designation does not necessarily indicate a particular safety deficiency but, rather, indicates that the state concerned is not providing sufficient safety oversight to ensure the effective implementation of all applicable ICAO Standards.
According to the CAA sources, the ICAO has expressed dissatisfaction over CAA’s licensing process, claiming it ignores international safety standards.
The CAA has been under fire from international bodies since Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan claimed in June that around a third of all registered pilots had “fake” or “dubious” licenses. The CAA has claimed this was misstated, as all its licenses are “genuine,” but admitted that some procedural lapses merited further investigation.
Thus far, around 150 pilots have been suspended over alleged license fraud. The CAA has also dismissed four officers.