Pakistan International Airlines is firing 28 pilots as they had fake licenses. This issue came into light when the airline’s Airbus A320 crashed in Karachi in May.
On May 22, PIA’s plane crashed killing 97 people on board. This raised many questions on the accountability of the PIA pilots. On further investigation it came to notice that out of 860 pilots in Pakistan 260 had not cleared their pilot exams by fair means. But the Civil Aviation Authority still issued their licenses.
As a result, the government had to later on fire the officials of the regulatory agency. Moreover, the government is considering filing criminal charges against them.
According to news reports Wednesday, 262 pilots are currently grounded in Pakistan.
The government has not given any update if the pilot and co-pilot of the crashed Karachi flight had fake licenses. Pakistani investigators have said human error was behind the crash.
This news was devastating for the whole nation. The flight PK8303 went down in a congested residential area while trying to land in the port city of Karachi. There were only two survivors on board.
The top management of Pakistan International Airlines was very upset about the revelations of fake pilot licenses.
EU Bans Pakistani Flights
Moreover, The United Kingdom and European Union banned all flights of Pakistan’s national airline, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). However, suspending all operations to and from their airports.
Also, the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) announced on June 30, that they are suspending the authorization for PIA to operate in Europe for the next six months.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Agency suspended operations of PIA’s flight from Birmingham, London Heathrow, and Manchester immediately after the news that nearly a third of Pakistani pilots had cheated on their exams.
Pakistani pilots flying with European airlines have also been grounded while their credentials are being verified.
“We are really hurting,” said PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez.
He told that they already grounded 17 of the 28 pilots in January last year. As there was an incident, an aircraft skidded off the runway in northern Pakistan. There was an internal inquiry into that accident. Fortunately, there were no injuries but raising many questions about the issuing of licenses by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority.
However, Hafeez said that they are paying $1.7 million in salaries of those 17 pilots. It was the court’s decision that the airline can not dismiss them until they complete the investigation into their qualifications is complete.
However, PIA was once considered among the finest airlines in the world. It has deteriorated over the decades as successive governments doled out patronage by giving jobs at PIA to supporters.
As a result, at roughly 450 employees to each of its 31 aircraft, PIA has one of the world’s highest employee to aircraft ratio in the industry.
Whereas, many airlines have less than 200 employees per aircraft. The ratio is considered a key benchmark in calculating an airline’s productivity.