PIA moves to assuage concern over 'dubious' pilot licences

Published June 27, 2020
In this photo, a PIA plane is seen on the runway at the Manchester Airport, England. — File
In this photo, a PIA plane is seen on the runway at the Manchester Airport, England. — File

Pakistan International Airlines has written to foreign missions and global regulatory and safety bodies, assuring them it has grounded all 141 pilots suspected of obtaining licenses through unfair means, the carrier's spokesman said on Saturday.

The move looks to assuage safety concerns after Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said on Friday that the government had asked various commercial airlines, flying clubs and charter companies to ground a total of 262 pilots until investigations into their qualifications are completed.

The action was prompted by a preliminary report on the crash of a PIA aircraft in Karachi last month, which found pilots had failed to follow standard procedures.

Global safety and transport bodies expressed concern about the alleged “dubious” licenses and said they were looking into the matter. PIA flies a number of international routes, including to the United States, Britain and Europe.

“It is also ensured that all pilots flying PIA flights are having genuine licences endorsed by the government of Pakistan,” said a copy of the letter sent to the US Embassy in Islamabad seen by Reuters.

The letter, signed by PIA Chief Executive Arshad Malik, also promised the airline would remain compliant with all international aviation safety and regulatory standards.

PIA's spokesman said the letter had been sent to all heads of foreign missions in Pakistan as well as international aviation regulators and safety monitoring agencies.

Aviation Minister Khan had said the move to ground the pilots would help allay global concerns and show wrongdoing had been corrected. He added that five officials of the aviation authority were also suspended for abetting the suspected pilots.

The Pakistani pilots' union did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

In a joint statement, The International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations and the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations called for the crash probe to be conducted on international standards, urging against “premature conclusions” based on incomplete or speculative information.

Opinion

Editorial

Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...
Noshki killings
Updated 14 Apr, 2024

Noshki killings

It must be asked why Baloch separatists continue to target civilians as well as security men despite large deployment.
Upholding the law
14 Apr, 2024

Upholding the law

THE recent discord in Bahawalnagar offers a chance to reflect on the sanctity of the law and its enforcement across...
Tragic travels
14 Apr, 2024

Tragic travels

FOR those embarking on road and boat journeys, the probability of fatal accidents has seen a steady rise. The recent...