Pakistan-China bus service to start from November

Pakistan and North-South Transport Network (NSTN), will launch a bus service between Pakistan and China from Nov. 3, 2018. (Photo courtesy: NSTN courtesy)
Updated 30 October 2018

Pakistan-China bus service to start from November

  • Luxury transport facility will take commuters from Lahore to Kashgar
  • PM Khan to embark on his first trip to Beijing in less than a week

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to China on November 3, a private company said on Tuesday that it will launch a bus service connecting the two countries on the same date.
The North South Transport Network (NSTN) is undertaking the initiative under the flagship of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The service, which commences on November 3, will be operational from Pakistan’s second largest city of Lahore to Kashgar in China. The journey itself is expected to clock 30 hours while providing a picturesque view of Pakistan's northern areas along the way.
While a one-way will cost commuters Rs13,000, a return ticket is priced at Rs23,000, according to state-run Radio Pakistan. According to the NSTN, passengers will be provided with meals, refreshment beverages, tea and snacks and free internet.  
Pakistan and China are linked through a land route which is used for both trade and travel. In 2015, the two countries launched the CPEC, a flagship project worth $60 billion.
Both the countries maintain traditionally-close, cooperative and friendly ties in diverse fields. As part of his visit, PM Khan is expected to participate in the First China International Import Expo, in Shanghai, where Pakistan is exhibiting a wide range of export products.


EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

Updated 01 July 2020

EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

  • The step has been taken due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards
  • PIA expects the ‘earliest possible’ lifting of suspension after action by the government and the airline

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorization to fly to the bloc for six months, the airline said on Tuesday, in a major blow to the country’s flag carrier.
Separately, the safety agency said it took the action due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards at all times.
The suspension follows Pakistan’s grounding of 262 of the country’s 860 pilots — including 141 of PIA’s 434 — whose licenses the aviation minister termed “dubious.”
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” PIA said in a statement. It added it would temporarily discontinue all its flights to Europe.
Confirming the move in an emailed statement, the EASA referred to a recent investigation by Pakistan which it said showed a “large share” of pilot licenses to be invalid.
Pakistan’s grounding of the pilots followed a preliminary report on a PIA crash in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.
PIA said it is in contact with the EASA to take corrective measures and appeal against the decision, adding that it expected the “earliest possible” lifting of the suspension after action by the government and the airline.
The EASA also suspended the authorization of another Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.
Vision Air International did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Following the EASA’s decision, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said it, too, was withdrawing PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports, as required under law.
“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesman for the UK authority told Reuters.
The three were major flying destinations for the airline.
Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), say there are discrepancies in the government’s list of pilots with licenses deemed dubious and are demanding a judicial investigation.
PIA and private airline Air Blue have also queried the list with PIA saying 36 of its pilots mentioned had either retired or left the airline, while Air Blue said it no longer employed seven of nine pilots on the list.
“It contains names of highly educated and qualified pilots who have passed all the tests,” PALPA’s president, Chaudhry Salman, told Reuters. “We want a fair and impartial resolution to this matter.”
An official at Pakistan’s aviation ministry, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, said they did not have full details of the discrepancies. “The issue is being sorted out in consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”