After alarming report, PIA takes action on “fake pilot licenses”
The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority carried out an investigation that found that 40% of pilots in the country held fake pilot licenses. In response to the findings, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suspended 150 of its 426 pilots pending further investigation.
The investigation, which was launched in February 2019, found that 262 out of 860 active Pakistani pilots had not sat the pilot exams themselves. “Pilots were also appointed on political basis, unfortunately,” Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said. “Merit was ignored while appointing pilots.”
That alarming result comes as the preliminary report into PK8303 crash blames the flight crew and the air traffic controllers for the accident that killed 97 people on May 22, 2020. While the report states that the“captain and first officer were adequately qualified and experienced to undertake the said flight”, their records and documents are currently under scrutiny.
Faking degrees: a recurring problem for PIA
A spokesperson from PIA said that nearly 150 of its 426 pilots have been found to hold “questionable” certificates. The suspected pilots will remain suspended while their documents are being examined further.
It is not the first time that the flag carrier of Pakistan takes such measures. In December 2018, PIA already indicated that over 50 of its employees, including pilots and cabin crew, were sacked for holding fake high school degrees. “The airline has dismissed from service its 50 staffers including three pilots for holding fake high school degrees,” PIA’s spokesperson Mashood Tajwar told the AFP.
Earlier in December 2018, the CAA had reported to the Supreme Court that five of PIA pilots had not completed their matriculation (10th-grade level exam usually taken up by students aged 14 to 16 years).
The specific approach of each airline to verify the authenticity of pilot licenses plays a major role. Some carriers only require a pilot to send their license, hours log, and medical records. All three can easily be faked in a country with more lenient civil aviation authority. To try and address that issue, other airlines now ask for a License Verification Letter to validate the authenticity of a foreign license. Additionally, yearly License Proficiency Check and Operator Proficiency Check simulator sessions help track the skills of a pilot.
Boeing 737 MAX crisis: a difficult return to the skies (Part V)
The alleged money saving strategies used by Boeing have backfired massively. Not only the manufacturer lost, and continu...
How much do you know about fighter jets? [Quiz]
Since their invention at the end of the Second World War, fighter jets have become the backbone of every air force. To m...
Boeing 737 MAX crisis: Losing the narrative (Part IV)
As the Boeing 737 MAX hit its peak, it seems like Boeing has lost the narrative. How did the newest 737 family member, d...
Boeing 737 MAX crisis: Burned bridges (Part III)
As the Boeing 737 MAX groundings are set to continue, Boeing has burned many bridges with the crews, airlines and passen...
Boeing 737 MAX crisis: Ethiopian Airlines Crash (Part II)
It seemed like the Lion Air accident was a one-off occasion. As the skies in Renton cleared, tragedy struck once more an...