166 Pakistani pilots working in 10 countries have valid licences: Aviation Division

ISLAMABAD: The Aviation Division revealed that the credentials of 166 Pakistani pilots working in 10 countries have been validated as genuine by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA).

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According to a statement by the Aviation Division spokesperson Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the PCAA received requests from 10 countries which include the UAE, Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Oman , Qatar and Kuwait for “validation of credentials of 176 Pakistani pilots”.

The press release stated that out of the 176, 166 of these pilots have been validated as genuine and certified by the PCAA Pakistan “as having no anomaly”. Information about the remaining 10 pilots will be available by next week, stated the notification.

The Division further revealed that the Cabinet has approved cancellation of the license of 28 pilots, from the 262 pilots who are under investigation for holding “dubious credentials”.

“These 28 pilots will not be able to undertake any flying duties and their licenses stand cancelled after following proper legal procedures under which also involved personal hearings afforded to individual pilots. The matter was twice deliberated by the Cabinet before the decision,” read the statement from Khokhar.

“The process of verification regarding 76 pilots has been initiated while the processing of remaining cases will be initiated shortly as per formal laid down procedures. The entire process of scrutiny and validation followed by necessary disciplinary action is being closely monitored and personally supervised by Minister for Aviation Mr Ghulam Sarwar Khan,” concluded the spokesperson.

Various airlines around the world have demanded proof of Pakistani pilots’ qualifications after Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said during a National Assembly session that almost 40% of Pakistani pilots held “dubious licences”.

Preliminary report holds pilots, ATC responsible for PIA plane crash

Eyebrows were raised at Pakistani pilots’ credentials for the first time when federal minister Sarwar Khan, while presenting the preliminary report of the PIA plane crash in Karachi, said 40% of pilots were flying aircraft with fake licenses.

“Pakistan has 860 active pilots, which includes PIA, Serene Air, Air Blue. The inquiry which was initiated in February 2019 showed that 262 pilots did not give the exam themselves and asked someone else to give it on their behalf,” the minister said, adding that the pilots did not have the proper flying experience either.

“Pilots are also appointed on political basis, unfortunately,” he said. “Whilst appointing pilots, merit is ignored,” he added, disclosing that degrees of four PIA pilots had been found to be fake.

The preliminary report, as per Sarwar, found out that the ATC and pilots both were responsible for the crash.

“The pilots and the air traffic controllers both did not follow protocol,” he had said. “The pilot ignored the instructions of the air traffic controllers and the ATC, on the other hand, did not inform the pilot about the engines’ collision.”

The minister had said that when the pilot was informed about the dangerous height at which the aircraft was, he did not pay heed to it and said that it would be ‘managed’.

“The fault was at both ends. The ATC was at fault as well when it saw the plane doing the touchdown on the engines and saw a fire erupting, it should have informed [the pilot] but the control tower did not. And when the pilot took off, both the engines were damaged by that time,” the minister had stated.

Sarwar had said that the pilot and the co-pilot were not focused and their lack of concentration had resulted in the plane crash. The minister added that the pilots were discussing the coronavirus as it had affected their families and were not paying attention to their job.

The minister had further revealed that it was observed that the pilot took the call “very hurriedly” and told the tower that he would “manage”. He added that recorder showed that even after taking the call the pilots went back to their conversations about coronavirus.

“The pilot then again requested another approach but unfortunately the approach he was given and the height he was given, it [aircraft] could not reach there and crashed on the civilian population,” said the minister while explaining what the report said about the final minutes of the plane.

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