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FAA downgrades international safety rating for Pakistan
15 July 2020

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that Pakistan has been assigned a Category 2 rating because it does not comply with ICAO safety standards.

Under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, the FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, or participate in code-sharing arrangements with U.S. partner airlines. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority provides aviation safety oversight for Pakistan.

IASA assessments determine whether foreign civil aviation authorities comply with ICAO safety standards. Air carriers from countries with Category 2 ratings are not allowed to initiate new service to the United States, are restricted to current levels of existing service to the United States, and are not permitted to carry the code of U.S. carriers on any flights. Currently, no airlines operate regularly scheduled flights between Pakistan and the United States.

ICAO also audits it’s member states under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP). The last audit in Pakistan was conducted in 2011, resulting in an average level of Effective Implementation score of 85%.

The FAA did not elaborate on the reason for their decision, but the news comes three weeks after the Pakistani aviation minister revealed that more than 30% of civilian pilots in Pakistan had fake licenses and were not qualified to fly. These pilots did not take exams themselves but paid someone else to sit it on their behalf.