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DLA Piper's regulatory team has succeeded in having an EU ban on Pakistan International Airways (PIA) partially lifted after just three months.
Miriam Gonzalez, the firm's head of trade, led a team that included head of aviation Mark Franklin and litigation associate Waseem Khokar. PIA can now relaunch 19 of its 43 aircraft to fly on the most profitable routes into Europe from Pakistan.
Gonzalez told The Lawyer the ban is expected to be lifted fully in September, depending on technical requirements.
The EU's air safety committee banned nearly all PIA flights into Europe in March following concerns about its ageing fleet in what is the first time the EU had implemented such a ban.
The DLA Piper team won the instruction after Lord Tim Clement-Jones, the firm's global co-head of government relations, and Khokar went to Pakistan in early 2007. Khokar has cultivated several corporate relationships for the firm in Pakistan, including the Pakistan Cricket Board and team captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who the firm advised on ball-tampering allegations last year.
Gonzalez joined DLA Piper in September 2006 from the European Commission, where she was the top trade negotiator at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
On the PIA case Gonzalez said: "We succeeded in getting the ban lifted because we had local, political and technical expertise. This case was as much about political aspects as it was technical."
The EU is currently considering bans on other airlines, including those from Russia, Moldova and Bulgaria, all 51 Indonesian carriers, a Ukrainian airline and an Angolan company. It is understood that at least one of these airlines has already approached DLA Piper.