The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has banned PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l) from operating any scheduled or charter flights to the United States as a result of an ongoing scandal over fake pilot licences.

The move follows news of a similar suspension by the European Union. Both the EU and US bans were imposed on July 1. A copy of a DOT letter to PIA's lawyer's revoking its authorisation to serve US destinations with immediate effect was seen by Bloomberg News on July 9.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advised the DOT on June 30 that all PIA operations to the US should be terminated as a result of the scandal. Although it has not operated scheduled flights to the country since October 2017, PIA has this year conducted seven repatriation flights to Pakistan from airports including New York Newark and Chicago O'Hare.

“It is a setback for PIA due to the prevailing scandal,” spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan told Bloomberg. “PIA had worked very hard to get direct flight permission.”

Pakistan admitted in June that 262 out of around 850 airline pilots in the country had fake certificates. The country dismissed 28 pilots last week as it continued to investigate the rest.

Meanwhile, Oman's civil aviation authority, the Public Authority for Civil Aviation, warned Pakistan that the flag carrier could be barred from using its airspace, Dawn reported. Sources told the newspaper that the Omani authorities had also asked Islamabad to explain what measures had been taken to ensure flight safety.