Pakistan Airlines pilots grounded in “fake pilot license” scandal

By Helene Fung

Under circumstances which sound more like a movie plot than reality, Pakistan International Airlines grounded 150 pilots, after investigations into a crash in May which killed 97 people dug up allegations of “fake pilot licenses”.

Pakistan’s Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarqar Khan, stunned Parliamentariansa day prior by revealing that 262 out of 860 Pakistani pilots had “fake” licences,when he presented the preliminary findings of an inquiry into the crash.

Mr Khan revealed that those pilots did not take the examinations themselves to get the required certificates.

Anonymous sources from the aviation industry alleged that Pakistan International Airlines has actually been aware of the scandal since two years ago, and that some people who had the skills to fly a plane but lacked relevant technical knowledge had previously bribed qualified persons to take exams for them.

Global airline organisation International Air transport Association said that they have requested more information on the affair, and that it is “concerning, and represents a serious lapse in the licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator”.

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