Pakistan and it’s lackluster bureaucracy has broken all corruption records lately. The recent news of Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan admitting that more than 30 per cent of Pakistani pilots are unqualified to fly and have fake licenses to fly had sent the world community in a tailspin. Now reports have emerged where several International carriers have discontinued the services of flogged Pakistani pilots.
And more from Pakistan: the death knell of PIA! Maybe the airline was giving jobs to the unemployed in Pakistan’s most skilled sector : suicide bombers pic.twitter.com/Gd0NiarnNK
— Mahesh Jethmalani (@JethmalaniM) June 26, 2020
According to reports, Kuwait Air has grounded seven Pakistani pilots and 56 engineers, while Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Vietnam Airlines has compiled lists of Pakistani pilots, engineers and ground-handling staff. Qatar Airways, has also initiated a probe against the dubious Pakistani employees. The airlines said the Pak employees whose names are on the lists will remain grounded till a report is received from Pakistani authorities.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the national flight carrier had let go off 150 pilots with ‘dubious licenses’ after the preliminary report in the Karachi plane crash on May 22 suggested that the accident happened due to ‘human-error’. The probe has so far blamed the pilot and the air traffic controller for the loss of 97 lives.
The pilots- unfocussed and overconfident, were discussing the Chinese virus throughout their journey, PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said. They ignored the repeated Air Traffic Control (ATC) warnings. But the worst was yet to come.
They tried to land the aircraft, without lowering its landing gear. The Airbus landed on its belly and engines scraped the surface of the runway.
The pilots attempted a second landing with its jeopardised engines. But the PIA aircraft ultimately crashed into a residential area in Karachi.
260 pilots had not even passed the test
Currently, Pakistan has 850 active pilots serving various domestic airlines, including the PIA. Ghulam had admitted that over 260 pilots had not even given the test or passed the test, which is required to become one.
THREAD: The story of PIA right now is so complex that as a journalist (NOT analyst) it is extremely difficult to walk a balanced line.
1 you have PTI government & its handling of crises.
2 is Pilots & issues related to them.
3 PIA & its long list of issues crises
— Tahir Imran Mian ✈ (@TahirImran) June 27, 2020
One has to understand that this is not a case of pilots with outdated licenses or disqualified pilots flying aircraft. For the first time in human history, a country is admitting that it is letting pilots fly without even taking an exam.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requires pilots to pass all eight papers to become fully qualified, after completing at least 1,500 hours of commercial flying time. However, the illegitimate pilots took full use of Pakistan’s insipid policies and skipped these steps altogether.
Coming forward—a means to save face?
Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar claimed that the Pakistani government had asked various commercial airlines, flying clubs and charter companies to ground a total of 262 pilots until investigations into their qualifications were completed. However, one cannot help but wonder if the government was indeed so worried about the lives of passengers, it wouldn’t have let the rot fester for so long.
Pakistan just wanted to prove itself as a good Samaritan in the global community by coming forward first before the news broke out, which would have come out eventually.
It is clear that if you reside in Pakistan, you are not safe. Because if you are on land, a suicide bomber will kill you, and if you are flying, a fake pilot will crash you to death.