PIA grounds 141 pilots over ‘dubious licenses’

28 June, 2020 | newsx bureau

Pakistan International Airlines World

PIA spokesman confirmed that the aviation ministry had issued list of dubious license-holders, sought immediate action for the safety of passengers.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has grounded 141 pilots whom it found to have used unfair means in obtaining their professional licenses, a spokesman for the national flag carrier said on Saturday.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan told Express Tribune that the aviation ministry had issued a list identifying 262 pilots with fake/suspicious licenses, which also included 10 pilots associated with Serene Air and nine with Air Blue.

In a letter to the Aviation Ministry, PIA Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik said steps were being taken for the safety of flights and passengers.

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The letter also mentioned that the 141 pilots grounded by the national carrier included 17 who were identified for their dubious credentials by the national carrier itself around a year and a half ago.

“It is also ensured that pilots flying PIA flights have genuine licenses endorsed by the Government of Pakistan and are in physical possession of the same during all domestic and international flights,” PIA CEO Malik was quoted as saying.

Aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar on Friday had announced that the credentials of 262 pilots were “dubious” and thus they will be barred from flying.

The pilots in the line of fire include 141 from PIA, nine from Air Blue and 10 from Serene Airline, said the minister.

The rest of the 262 belong to flying clubs or chartered plane services, he said. He said all the airlines and the clubs had been conveyed that their “credentials are dubious, and they shouldn’t be allowed to fly.”

Khan, while presenting the preliminary report of the plane crash in the National Assembly, on Thursday said that the incident in which 97 people lost their lives had happened because the pilots were not focused and their lack of concentration caused the crash.

PIA spokesman had revealed that it was observed that the pilot took the call from the ATC “very hurriedly” and told the tower that he would “manage”, after being informed that the aircraft was at a dangerous height. He added that recorder showed that even after taking the call, the pilots went back to their conversations about coronavirus.

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