It is the primary responsibility of the state and CAA perhaps to ensure level playing field, ensure the protection of commercial interest and reciprocity on bilateral agreements.

CAA must ensure that all airlines registered in Pakistan must share the burden of operating on socio-economic routes, imposing heavy penalties, which should be adequate to compensate full loss incurred by those who operate on such routes, instead of the taxpayer.

Airline losses lead to compromises in maintenance and training of flight crew, with repercussions on passenger safety as well. Appointment of unqualified executives, with no experience in commercial aviation, to CAA and PIA, have further aggravated the crisis.

The dynamics of commercial aviation are as far apart from military aviation as oncology from dentistry. Commercial aviation is a highly regulated industry subject to the control of not only the country of registration but also every other nation whose airspace it overflies and where it lands. Military aviation, on the other hand, is an entirely different agenda.

It is this regulatory inability of CAA, which resulted in sanctions imposed by EASA and rise in fatal crashes. Pakistan as a signatory to ICAO must follow standards, recommendations, and practices of Annex-1 of Chicago Convention.

It is obligatory upon CAA to ensure that Airline Operators certified to carry passengers on scheduled flights must meet laid down requirements to ensure passenger safety. They should have full insurance coverage to meet all eventualities, maintain aircraft, and carry out proficiency and medical fitness test of the flight crew. Licenses issued by CAA Pakistan to pilots, technicians, etc. should meet ICAO Licensing standards, or be more limiting so that they can operate on international routes.

ICAO approved Airline Pilots Licenses are valid if the holder is declared medically fit with less than sixty years of age. They allow pilot utilization up to 65 years along with six monthly medical fitness checks and restrictions. Raising ALTP license validity to 5 years from existing I year violates the ICAO standards and compromises passenger safety.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, March 18.