PIA grounds 150 pilots with ‘dubious’ licenses

Out of 862 pilots in Pakistan, 262 pilots may have fake licenses

Pakistan International Airline (PIA), the national carrier, has grounded almost 150 pilots for carrying ‘dubious’ licenses. The airline has 426 pilots associated with it in total. The grounded pilots will be sent show cause notices as well.

Abdullah Khan, a spokesperson for PIA, said that the airline had this problem but also suggested that it was an issue across the board and not just with one airline.

“PIA acknowledges that fake licenses is not just a PIA issue but spread across the entire Pakistani airline industry,” Khan said.

Ghulam Sawar Khan, the Minister for Civil Aviation, recently said that a total of 262 pilots have suspicious licenses with some licenses acquired through someone else taking the exam. He also mentioned that there are 860 licensed pilots in Pakistan. He also said that many of the dubious license holders are not active flyers.

“Pakistan has 860 active pilots, which includes PIA, Serene Air and Air Blue pilots as well. The inquiry which was initiated in February 2019 showed that 262 pilots did not give the exam themselves and asked someone else to sit for exam on their behalf,” the minister said.

Sarwar pointed out that some of the hires with such licenses were on political basis. He vowed that the practice will be stopped now. He also claimed that nine pilots have already confessed to carrying fake licenses.

The practices of the aviation industry have come under scrutiny after the crash of flight 8303 which fell hardly a minute before reaching the runway. This was the fourth crash in the last ten years, casting a shadow over the entire industry.

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