A total of 150 pilots of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have been suspended after finding flaws in their license authenticity by the aviation authority of Pakistan. Addressing the recent PIA A320 crash in Karachi, aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan declared that more than 30% of commercial pilots in Pakistan hold the fake licenses and were not qualified to fly.
Mr. Khan also reported that 262 pilots of PIA who don’t have proper flying experience hired others to appear exams on their behalf. Currently, Pakistan has 860 pilots operating domestic and international flights. He further said that a government inquiry was sent to all the pilots who were expected to have fake pilot licenses.
The suspension decision was taken after the initial investigation of the PIA A320 crash reported human error rather than the technical error on the aircraft. However, the license authenticity of the two pilots of PIA Flight PK 8303 is yet to be disclosed.
The initial report released by the aviation ministry says that the Flight 8303 fatal crash occurred due to human error as the aircraft was fit to fly. The Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) has shown dissatisfaction over the report disclosed by the ministry however, the association remained silent on the pilot suspension notice.
Abdullah Khan, the spokesperson of PIA, said that 150 out of their 434 pilots have been grounded. He also added that the PIA team felt uncomfortable to suspend pilots but the risk could not be taken. He further insisted that the problem was not with PIA only but with the entire Pakistani aviation industry.
PIA, the national flag carrier has announced to terminate those pilots who have shown fake credentials. Serene Air and Air Blue are the leading carriers of Pakistan after PIA who are also now required to check the authenticity of their pilots.
The suspension will be active until the necessary investigation completes with an effective conclusion. Besides, the Pakistani airline will strictly analyze the license and flying experiences of their pilots. Especially, fraud cases during the examinations will be monitored.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also shown concern over the issue stating that there are serious loopholes and negligences by the aviation regulatory body of Pakistan.
The aviation minister clearly said that the pilots of flight 8303 were overconfident and not aware of the situation as they were talking about Coronavirus. Besides, the pilot in command did not accept the instructions from Air Traffic Controllers instead took a delicate decision by himself that resulted in a fatal accident killing 97 people on board.
ATC officers warned the flight crew about their aircraft being too high and inappropriate for landing however, the captain said that he would manage it but tried to land the aircraft without deploying the landing gear. A320 approached runway without landing gear and then both the engines collided heavily with the runway and then again took off resulting in serious damage in engines. This damage then led to the fatal crash when the pilot tried to land during the second time.