Pakistan pilot licence irregularities are ‘serious lapse’: IATA
PIA grounds 150 pilots for possessing ‘dubious licenses’
PARIS: Irregularities found in pilot licences at Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) represent a “serious lapse” in safety controls, global airlines body IATA said on Thursday after the carrier grounded one third of its pilots.
“We are following reports from Pakistan regarding fake pilot licences, which are concerning and represent a serious lapse in the licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator,” an IATA spokesperson said, adding that the organisation was seeking more information.
The statement comes hours after after PIA announced that it will ground a third of its 434 pilots on suspicion they hold “dubious” licences and flying certificates.
Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan told parliament on Wednesday that 262 pilots, out of total 860 in the country, have suspicious flying licences and would be grounded immediately.
Sarwar had said criminal proceedings would also be initiated against pilots with fake licences as the government could not allow anyone to put the lives of its citizens at risk.
The decision came as an inquiry into a PIA crash last month, in which 97 people were killed, points to pilots not following procedures, while the aviation minister said the cockpit voice recorder suggested the pilots were distracted by a conversation about the novel coronavirus.
“We’ve been told that an investigation conducted by the civil aviation authority has found that about 150 of our pilots have dubious licenses,” PIA spokesperson Abdullah H Khan told Reuters.
All of the pilots under investigation would be grounded, he said. The PIA has a fleet of 31 aircraft that fly domestic and international routes.
Successive governments have tried to overhaul loss-making PIA over the years but with little sign of success. - Reuters