PIA Ground 150 Pilots Suspected of ‘Dubious’ Licences

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has announced to ground at least 150 pilots who are suspected to have ‘dubious’ flying licences.

The airline’s decision came after the provisional inquiry report held the pilots responsible for causing the PIA plane crash in Karachi on May 22.

While presenting the plane crash inquiry report, Pakistan’s Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan had revealed in the National Assembly on Wednesday that around 40 per cent of the active commercial pilots in the country hold ‘fake’ flying licences.

His announcement has created quite a stir in the country as people raised questions about the safety of passengers travelling on the national carrier and other private Pakistani airlines.

Supreme court takes notice

Taking notice of the report about pilots with ‘fake’ licences, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday has asked report from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.  Pakistan Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed summoned a reply from the director-general of the Civial Aviation Athority within two weeks.  He said that he wanted to know how the fake flyhing licences are issued and what action is being taken against the people who issue them.

Putting passengers’ lives at risk is a major crime, said Justice Ahmed. He has also summoned the heads of PIA and private airlines including Air Blue and Serene Air at next hearing. They have been told to submit reports verifying the licences of the pilots in their employ.

Meanwhike, a PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez confirmed that around 150 pilots are being grounded. He said the management has written to the Civil Aviation Authority to provide the list of other licences found to be dubious and all of them will be indefinitely grounded pending inquiries against them, reported Dawn.

“Those found at fault will be terminated from service after following a due process,” he said.

PIA acknowledges inquiry report

Meanwhile, the PIA has also acknowledged the provisional inquiry report of the Karachi plane crash that left 97 people dead, saying that the airline would ground all pilots with “dubious licenses”.

“PIA acknowledges the AAIB report and have already taken measures learning from it. An independent Flight Data Monitoring set-up established to monitor and analyse all flights. All pilots with dubious licenses will be grounded. Safety is more important than any commercial interest,” PIA tweeted hours after the startling inquiry report was made public by the Aviation Minister.

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