In a major blow to Pakistan's aviation industry, the airlines operating in the country face a ban from flying to 188 nations over their pilot licensing issue and failure to meet international norms set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), according to IANS report.
In the wake of the fake pilot license scam in Pakistan, state-owned carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has already been banned from flying to the UK and the European Union, as per the report.
In a letter dated November 3, the ICAO, a specialised agency of the United Nations that works to ensure safety in international air transport, said that Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) had failed to meet the international norms related to the personnel licensing and training in relation to the licensing process for pilot. It also issued a serious warning to the Pakistani aviation authority over the safety concerns.
Earlier in September, the ICAO had advised Pakistan to undertake "immediate corrective actions" and suspend the issuance of any new pilot licenses in light of fake license scam.
As PCAA failed to meet the international standards, the country's aircraft and pilots are likely to be barred from flying to 188 countries in the world, the agency said, citing The Express Tribune report.
The scam came to light in August after Pakistan aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan disclosed that 262 pilots including 141 of the PIA held fake credentials. 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, the aviation minister had claimed.
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 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.