Vietnam grounds Pakistani pilots over licence concerns

Published June 29, 2020
This February file photo shows a health worker walking out after spraying disinfectant inside a Vietnam Airlines plane at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, Vietnam. — Reuters
This February file photo shows a health worker walking out after spraying disinfectant inside a Vietnam Airlines plane at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, Vietnam. — Reuters

Vietnam’s aviation authority said on Monday it had grounded all Pakistani pilots working for local airlines, amid concern from global regulators that some pilots may have been using “dubious” licences.

The issue of dubious licenses drew global attention after Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan in the National Assembly declared that 150 pilots of the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, had fake licences.

Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed concern over the "serious lapse in licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator".

“The head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has ordered a suspension for all Pakistani pilots working for Vietnamese airlines,” the CAAV said in a statement on Monday.

The suspension will be in effect until further notice from CAAV, it said, adding that the authority is coordinating with Pakistani authorities to review the pilots’ profiles.

Vietnam had licensed 27 Pakistani pilots, and 12 of them were still active, while the other 15 pilots’ contracts had expired or were inactive due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the CAAV.

Of the 12 active pilots, 11 were working for budget airlines Vietjet Aviation and one for Jetstar Pacific, a unit of the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.

Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways were not using any pilots from Pakistan, the CAAV said.

Vietnamese airlines currently have 1,260 pilots, with nearly half of them holding foreign citizenship, according to the CAAV.

UAE stops incoming passengers from Pakistan

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates on Sunday said it will not receive passengers coming from Pakistan as of June 29 (today) until a special Covid-19 lab is set up to test them.

The General Civil Aviation Authority said the decision also applies to transit flights originating from Pakistan.

Dubai state carrier Emirates had already said it was temporarily suspending flights from Pakistan, effective June 24 until July 3, after about 30 Pakistanis who arrived in Hong Kong on board an Emirates flight on June 22 tested positive for Covid-19.

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