PIA Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 747-300 by Aero Icarus on Flickr

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Following the crash of a Pakistan International Airline flight in Karachi last month, killing 98, the Civil aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan suggested pilots had been distracted by a conversation about the coronavirus. Additional inspections found that the distracting conversation led to ignored air traffic warnings about the plane’s elevation and landing gear. However, a 2018 investigation by the civil aviation authority revealed on Wednesday that roughly one-third of the airline’s pilots could also possess fraudulent licenses.

On Thursday, the airline announced it had grounded 150 of their 454 pilots who were thought to be holding fraudulent licenses or did not personally take their piloting exams. More than 100 other pilots across the country who are associated with different airlines are suspected to carry fake licenses as well. The aviation minister then discussed how these pilots  “don’t have flying experience.” It has not yet been revealed whether or not the pilots involved in the crash in Karachi were qualified

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called these actions a “serious lapse” in safety regulations and guidelines and blamed the aviation minister for “safety oversight.” The association will continue to investigate and acquire more intel on the alleged negligent behavior. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Almost 1 in 3 pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses, aviation minister says – CNN – 6/25/2020
More than 30% of civilian pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses and are not qualified to fly, the country’s aviation minister revealed Wednesday. Addressing Pakistan’s National Assembly, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said 262 pilots in the country “did not take the exam themselves” and had paid someone else to sit it on their behalf. “They don’t have flying experience,” he said.

Pilots Discussed Coronavirus, Ignoring Alerts Before Pakistan Crash, Officials Say – New York Times – 6/24/2020
The pilots of a Pakistani airliner that crashed last month in Karachi were busy talking about the coronavirus and repeatedly ignored directions from air traffic controllers before their plane went down, killing 98 people, Pakistan’s aviation minister said Wednesday.

Pakistan flag carrier to ground a third of pilots over ‘dubious’ licences – Reuters – 6/25/2020
Pakistan’s investigations into pilots’ qualifications began after a 2018 crash in which it was found that the test date on the license of the pilot involved had been a holiday – suggesting it was fake as testing could not have taken place on that day.

Pakistan: Almost a Third of Pilots Have Fake Licenses – Breitbart – 6/25/2020
In an address in front of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said 262 pilots nationwide had not obtained the necessary qualifications and had paid someone else to take the exams for them. Khan’s revelations come days after an investigation into last month’s Pakistan International Airline’s crash in Karachi that killed 97 people found that it was the result of human error on the part of the pilot, the co-pilot, and air traffic control.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Waseem Abbasi on Twitter, 6/25/2020: World is shocked at Pakistan and raising question over safety of its airlines.. Did Minsiter make Pakistan a laughing stock in the world by claiming one in three of our commercial pilots do not have lisence to fly??

Salman Masood on Twitter, 6/25/2020: Pakistan International Airlines will ground 150 pilots due to dubious credentials. It’s really shocking that the tragedy of a plane crash in Karachi forced the national carrier to take this decision and everything was presented as hunky dory earlier. Still better late than never.

Murtaza M. Hussain on Twitter, 6/25/2020: A long time ago Pakistan International Airlines was considered among the most advanced airlines in the developing world and Asia in particular. Now its suspending a third of its pilots on suspicion of having “either bogus or suspicious licences”

Saima Mohsin on Twitter, 6/25/2020: Terrifying. An investigation finds hundreds of “active civilian pilots have fraudulently-obtained licenses” to fly – in Pakistan & foreign airlines around the world! Plus catalogue of human errors that led to Karachi plane crash #PK8303 SaeedShah reports

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