PCAA clears 96 Pakistani pilots, blames media for ‘incorrectly highlighting’ dubious license issue

KARACHI: The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) announced on Wednesday it has verified and cleared the licences of almost 96 pilots out of the 104 names it received from various foreign counterparts and international airlines.

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In a letter to the director for air traffic control services at Oman’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), Mubarak Saleh al-Gheilani, PCAA Director-General Hassan Nasir Jamy said it was crucial “to clarify that all CPL / ATPL Pilot licences issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) are genuine and validly issued”.

“None of the Pilot Licenses are fake, rather the matter has been misconstrued and incorrectly highlighted in the media / social media,” Jamy’s letter read further.

“[The PCAA] has already verified/cleared 96 Pakistani pilots out of 104 names received from various civil aviation authorities / foreign airlines (UAE / GACA, Vietnam Airlines, Bahrain Air, Civil Aviation Malaysia, Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department and Turkish Airlines)”.

‘Highest concerns about air safety’

In his letter, the top PCAA official apprised his Omani counterpart of the licence verification process of Pakistani pilots working in foreign airlines.

Stressing that all licences issued to pilots by the PCAA were certified and genuine, he noted that some international airlines had sought verification of 104 Pakistani pilots, of whom eight were yet to be cleared.

In the forensic scrutiny, the PCAA official stressed, some discrepancies had arisen during the computerised examination of licensing process, leading the body to ground the suspected pilots and take them off from flying duties.

The ‘suspect’ pilots have been asked to defend their licences in accordance with the Pakistan Civil Aviation Rules, 1994.

“All this was done keeping in view the highest concerns about air safety all over the world, and also to ensure that questions raised in respect of an identified class of pilots does not prejudice hundreds of Pakistani pilots flying aircraft most professionally and safely within and outside Pakistan,” Jamy’s letter added further.

Pilots working with Oman, Hong Kong airlines cleared

A day prior, the PCAA had cleared the licences of 18 Pakistani pilots working for Oman’s SalamAir after the Gulf nation’s civil aviation authority requested verification.

Pilots cleared by the PCAA included Captains Fawad Shahab, Sheikh Saifullah, Mohammad Bilal Malik, Mohammad Javed, Mohammad Rashid, Muhammad Athar Iqbal, Muhammad Asif, Farhan Khan, Babar Sultan, Farrukh Bhatti, Sajjad Malik, Zia-ul-Haq, Natasha Sultan, Abbas Rizvi, Omar Jafar, and three others.

Separately, the PCAA had also cleared three Pakistani pilots associated with the Hong Kong Airlines after it asked for clearance of their licenses.

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