Around 40 per cent of pilots in Pakistan have fake flying licenses, according to Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan. The 40 per cent 'fake' licence holders also include pilots who are not 'active flyers'.
At present, Pakistan has a total of 860 active pilots, which include PIA, Serene Air and Air Blue pilots. However, out of 860 pilots, 262 pilots did not give the exam themselves and asked someone else to sit on their behalf, aviation minister Khan added.
The minister also said that pilots in Pakistan were appointed on political basis, and merit-criteria was ignored. Against this backdrop, an inquiry has been initiated and show-cause notice has been issued to 54 pilots, according to Gulf News.
These startling revelations on pilots were made when the aviation minister was presenting preliminary report on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash before the National Assembly on Wednesday.
On May 22, a passenger plane had crashed in Karachi killing 97 people. The Airbus A320 aircraft had 91 passengers and a crew of eight when it crashed in the Jinnah Garden area, minutes before landing. Only two passengers miraculously survived the crash.
Thereafter, a probe was ordered by the Pakistan government. Based on the initial report, Khan held the pilot, the cabin crew, and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) responsible for the plane crash.
Khan claimed that the pilots were not "focused" as they were discussing coronavirus pandemic.
"In the last half hour, the pilots' discussion was about coronavirus, they were not focused as their families were affected," said Khan, adding that the pilot and co-pilot were both fit and experienced.