Sunday, March 04, 2007

EU bans most Pakistan International Airlines planes

The European Union has barred 35 of Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) fleet of 45 aircraft from flying in the region because of safety concerns. The only PIA aircraft not affected by the ban are seven B-777s.

According to BBC News, the EU said it based its ruling on safety concerns surrounding the condition of PIA's fleet of B747s and A310s. Last week, PIA management strongly opposed the ban, and published a statement on their website to that effect.

A PIA official told Reuters that the airline would have to cut 15% to 20% of the European operations due to the ban. Some of  PIA's most lucrative routes will be affected, including flights to London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam.

Last year the Pakistani government grounded the airline's Fokker fleet after a crash that killed 45 people in July.

UPDATE Mar. 6, 2007: Business Week is reporting that PIA has cut its flights to Europe by about 50%., saying "Services to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Milan and Chicago have been stopped altogether. Flights to destinations including Manchester, New York, Istanbul and Paris will continue, but with reduced frequency."