Pakistan's aviation minister says over 30% of civilian pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses and are not qualified to fly.
Addressing Pakistan’s National Assembly, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said 262 pilots in the country cheated and “did not take the exam themselves” and had paid someone else to sit it on their behalf. Khan went onto say they don't have flying experience.
According to Khan, Pakistan has 860 active pilots serving its domestic airlines — including the country’s Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) banner — as well as a number of international carriers. Effective immediately, PIA has grounded all its pilots who hold fake licenses. “PIA acknowledges that fake licenses is not just a PIA issue but spread across the entire Pakistani airline industry,” spokesperson Abdullah Khan said, adding that some of the fake pilots also fly for foreign carriers.
The results of the investigation were announced Wednesday as part of a preliminary report into a plane crash that killed 97 people in Karachi on May 22. There was no clarificatio from Khan if the two pilots on flight PK 8303 had counterfeit licenses. According to the report, the pilots were talking about COVID-19 and ignored several warnings from air traffic controllers before the plane crashed in a residential area close to the airport. “The pilots were discussing corona throughout the flight. They were not focused. They talked about the coronavirus and how their families were affected and were overconfident".
According to Khan, the pilots were told three times by air traffic controllers that the plane was too high and they should not attempt to land, “but the captain did not pay any heed to these instructions.” The pilots proceeded with trying to land — without lowering the landing gear.
According to reports, the aircraft touched the runway surface on its engines, the engines scrubbed the runway, causing sparks and irreparable damage. The pilots pulled the plane back into the air, but the damaged engines failed and caused the plane to crash.
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