Will Pakistanis now fly directly to the US?
Pakistan may soon be assigned a category 1 safety rating from the United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after the Biden administration agreed to operate direct flights to and from Pakistan.
An aviation news website has claimed that Pakistan’s safety rating may be upgraded to category 1 after an FAA inspection visit to the country.
On July 15, FAA announced to assign category 2 rating to Pakistan for failing to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.
Air carriers from countries with category 2 ratings are not allowed to initiate new service to the US, are restricted to current levels of existing service to the US, and are not permitted to carry the code of US carriers on any flights.
Due to concerns over Pakistan’s national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), safety record direct flights to the US were banned in 2017. Currently, no airlines operate regularly scheduled flights between Pakistan and the United States.
The aviation website claimed that in a meeting at the US Department of State in Washington DC, Pakistan Head of Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Salman Sufi discussed the possibility of opening up direct flight access with US officials including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of South and Central Asia Elizabeth Horst.
Pertaining to the meeting the Pakistani Embassy in Washington said, “The US side conveyed its readiness to have technical discussions with Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant departments and undertaking necessary visits for resumption of direct flights.”
If Pakistan acquires a category 1 safety rating, its carriers would be able to launch new direct routes to the US and establish code-sharing agreements with other airlines.
FAA inspectors to visit Pakistan
According to the website simpleflying, Inspectors from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will arrive in Pakistan soon to assess the country’s airports and aircraft.
Reportedly, the US Chamber of Commerce will also appoint a representative in Karachi.
If the country’s aviation sector passes the test, there is a ‘good possibility’ that Pakistan will receive a US FAA category 1 rating.