PIA in crisis due to coronavirus and fake licenses

Pakistan is making concrete efforts to get the six month EU ban on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) reversed after it was found that nearly a third of PIA pilots are holding fake or dubious licenses. The airline immediately grounded 141 pilots suspected of obtaining licenses through unfair means.

PIA is currently banned from flying in European airspace for 6 months from 1 July 2020, after European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)  determined that the airline is not capable of certifying and overseeing its operators and aircraft in accordance with applicable international standards

Pakistani diplomats have been meeting EU officials in an attempt to review their decision.  They will be making an appeal to the EU to withdraw the ban.
The UK Civil Authority also withdrew PIA’s permit to operate to Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester. These three airports were major flying destinations for the airline. The PIA was operating 23 flights every week to these three UK airports. 

The airline is apparently, seeking the assistance of European and UK parliamentarians of Pakistani origin in resolving the matter as the ban is likely to cost Rs 33 billion Pakistani Rupees to the country.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has reportedly called upon the World Health Organisation to play its role in engaging member states to remove Covid-19 related air travel restrictions on Pakistan.

(Image Credit::https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Pakistan_International_Airlines#/media/File:Pia.b747-367.ap-bfw.750pix.jpg)

Kuwait to reduce the number of foreign workers: 8 lakh Indians may lose jobs

The legal and legislative committee of Kuwait’s National Assembly has approved the draft expat quota bill which could result in 800,000 Indians leaving the country.  The Bill stipulates Indian workers in the country should not exceed 15 percent of the total population. The committee called for an immediate freeze on employment applications from expats, review on renewal of all existing contracts.
In June, Kuwait announced a ban on employment of expatriates in state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries starting from the year 2020-21.

Covid-19 crisis could bankrupt over a dozen UK universities

Some 13 unnamed universities with a large intake of students from abroad may go bust without a government bailout, Institute for Fiscal Studies report indicates. The decline in the number of international student enrolments may lead to losses of between £1.4 billion and £4.3bn to these universities. Student accommodation and conference and catering operations, and financial losses on long-term investments could compound losses of income, the IFS noted.

In a statement, the Department for Education said a government package announced in May, allows UK universities to access business support and job retention schemes, while the sector will also benefit from the pulling forward of £2.6bn in tuition fee payments to ease cash flow problems. Last month, the government also announced two support packages to give greater job protection to thousands of researchers, scientists and technicians working at UK universities.

Gold smuggling: Customs check on Swapna Suresh’s flat

Kerala Chief Minister’s office is once again entangled in a major scandal after reports confirming that Swapna Suresh, an employee at CM’s office is behind the smuggling of gold concealed through the airport addressed to the UAE Consulate, using the cover of diplomatic immunity.  Swapna Suresh, a former UAE consulate officer, worked as the marketing liaison officer of the Space Park under the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited.

‘It is absurd,’ Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said about his office being dragged to the case. “This is a move by the opposition to damage his government’s clean and corruption-free image” 

The customs department has accused Swapna Suresh as the master brain behind the plan to smuggle about 30 kg gold, worth £1.5 million, in a baggage addressed to a United Arab Emirates diplomat via Kerala’s Trivandrum Airport. The Customs department has conducted a raid at the flat of Swapna Suresh.