On December 14, 2020, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) representative informed the country’s Supreme Court that the airline had cleared 110 pilots out of 141 in a fake pilots’ license scandal.
In June 2020, the airline suspended licenses of the 141 pilots while it was carrying out an investigation into their validity. Following the investigation, PIA cleared 110 pilots and cancelled licenses of 15 pilots, whereas 14 pilots had been declared unfit to operate aircraft, according to the representative. A few cases were pending decisions, the spokesperson said.
An investigation by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority revealed that 40% of pilots in the country, or 262 out of 860 active Pakistani pilots, held fake pilot licenses and had not sat the pilot exams themselves.
In response to the findings, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the country’s flag carrier, suspended 150 of its 426 pilots pending further investigation in June 2020.
Pakistan’s fake pilot license scandal broke out at a time when the country was in mourning following PIA Flight 8303 crash, which claimed 95 lives. The passenger plane came down on houses in Karachi on May 22, 2020. The accident investigators found the captain and first officer of the doomed flight “were adequately qualified and experienced to undertake the said flight”.