Pakistan International Airlines has grounded a third of its pilots over “dubious licenses.”
More than 30% of commercial airline pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses, the country’s aviation minister said this week.
The shocking revelation came as a preliminary official report blamed pilot error for a crash in May that killed 98 people near Karachi.
Pakistan’s aviation minister said the pilot and the co-pilot were “not focused” because “they were having a conversation about corona.”
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On Thursday, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the nation’s flag carrier, grounded 150 of its 434 pilots, whom it said had “dubious licenses.”
It came as the Pakistani airline industry is under intense scrutiny after the country’s aviation minister told parliament that 30% of the pilots in the country have fake qualifications or cheated in their exams.
Corrupt practices relating to pilot qualifications were highlighted in a preliminary government report, published this week, into a Karachi crash in May which killed 98 people.
PIA’s mass dismissal came after earlier dismissing six pilots with fake degrees, according to Geo News, a Pakistani news outlet.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the airline said: “Dubious licenses do not pertain to PIA alone. Let it be on record, these licenses were issued by the competent authority and were valid as per their record.”
Dubious Pilots Licenses do not pertain to PIA alone. Let it be on record, these licenses were issued by the competent authority and are valid as per their records. It’s the process & discrepancies through which they were obtained, triggered the inquiry by GoP & action.
— PIA (@Official_PIA) June 25, 2020
International aviation authorities have also expressed concern at the situation in Pakistan.
A spokesman for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) told Reuters. “We are following reports from Pakistan regarding fake pilot licenses, which are concerning and represent a serious lapse in the licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator.”
Pakistan’s investigations into pilot qualifications began after a 2018 crash, according to Reuters. It found a pilot had been on vacation on the test date on his license, suggesting strongly that it was fake.
Another pilot had been out of the country on the date stamped on his flying certificate.
According to the preliminary report on the Karachi crash in May, the PIA pilots made a series of errors while attempting to land, which included failing to lower the landing …read more
Source:: Business Insider