Pakistan to Ground 150 Pilots for License Cheating

Clay Curtis
June 30, 2020

Shahzad Chaudry, a retired Pakistani Air Force vice marshal, said that the government was unfairly scapegoating PIA, as it is Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that issues licenses.

Hafeez told the Associated Press in a phone interview today that PIA had alerted the Civil Aviation Authority, the Pakistani regulatory body that issues pilots licences, about its concerns over some of the licenses.

In a statement, VietJet said it had stopped assigning work to its Pakistani pilots as soon as news of the licence issue emerged and no pilots with Pakistan-issued licences were now flying for the airline.

An official of Pakistan's aviation authorities told NHK on Saturday that the authorities had confirmed wrongdoings committed by 28 of the pilots in question.

Salman acknowledged that 141 of his fellow pilots had been grounded by PIA a day earlier but said the pilots accused of obtaining "fake pilot licenses" were ready to defend themselves in any forum.

Moreover, he said that out of total 141 suspected pilot license holders, 17 airmen were identified by the airline nearly 18 months ago.

The investigation blamed it on "human error" and noted that the pilots and officials of the air traffic control on the ground did not follow set procedures.

According to the website, Sarwar revealed the disturbing news about the "fake" pilots while presenting a provisional inquiry report in the National Assembly of Pakistan about the recent PIA plane crash in Karachi.

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Pakistani authorities have started dismissal proceedings against pilots and criminal charges are likely after reports that almost one-third of its national airline's pilots were holding fake or dubious licences, an official said on Friday. No one would like to fly with pilots who have bogus licenses. Subsequently, all foreign missions and global regulatory and safety bodies have been informed by PIA about the said action with a view to protecting its credibility.

PIA, which is helmed by a serving air force officer, now has a fleet of 31 planes and a payroll of about 14,500 workers.

The initial inquiry was spurred by an investigation into an airliner incident in November 2018, when a PIA-operated Embraer ATR-72 aircraft skidded off the runway in the southwestern town of Panjgur.

Out of total 262 pilots, 141 are from PIA, nine pilots are from Airblue and the remaining 10 are presently serving in Serene Airline.

Pakistan has a chequered military and civilian aviation safety record, with frequent aircraft crashes over the years.

On May 22, the domestic flight from Lahore to Karachi crashed in a residential area near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

The remainder of the 262 come from flying clubs or chartered plane services, he said.

The Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA) has also raised doubts about the list.

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