ISLAMABAD (News10) – Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that the licenses of 262 pilots are ‘suspicious’ or ‘doubtful’, including 141 captains of PIA, 10 captains of Serene Air and 9 captains of Air Blue. Inquiries have been completed against 128 pilots while 148 have been grounded. Five officers who issued fake licenses have also been suspended and all these recruitments were made during the last two terms.
Talking to media in Islamabad, he vowed to make Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) the world’s leading airline by 2023, saying the company had verified that licenses of 28 pilots were fake.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that all the pilots, who are under inquiry or illegally recruited, were hired before 2018. He clarified that the incumbent government has not made any recruitments either in PIA or in the CAA after coming into power.
He added that the previous Chief Justice of Pakistan took suo moto notices against various departments of PIA, after which the verification process of degrees and licenses was initiated.
He said that by 2019, the verification process included a total of 648 people, including 119 cabin crew, 16 cockpit, 98 in engineering and 415 in the general administration.
He said that when the scrutiny of pilots’ licenses was started, there were a total of 860 pilots, including 753 pilots of local commercial flights and 107 pilots of international flights.
The Federal Minister said that there are 450 pilots working in PIA, 47 in Serene Air, 87 in Air Blue, 68 in Shaheen and about 101 pilots in various airlines and flying clubs.
He said that questions have been raised against 262 pilots, 141 of PIA, 9 of Air Blue, 10 of Serene Air, 17 of Shaheen and 85 others. The Minister stressed that these licenses are suspected to be fake.
The Aviation Minister said that there are different types of licenses, one is Commercial Pilots License (CPL) and the other is Airline Transport Pilots License (ATPL). He said that the number of fake license holder CPLs is 109 and ATPLs is 153, and their list has been sent to all concerned departments.
He said that PIA, Air Blue and Serene Air have been notified of these pilots’ status but Air blue has denied this impression.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the Civil aviation officials were involved in this dubious process and an inquiry has been started against them with five people already suspended from service. He said that consultations are being made to start a criminal inquiry against the responsible officials as well.
The Federal Minister said that the inquiries against 28 pilots have been completed, out of which nine have already confessed. It is the government’s responsibility to dismiss these employees, for which permission has to be sought from the Cabinet, he added.