Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said on Thursday that it will be grounding nearly 150 out of its 426 pilots, accusing them of obtaining “dubious” licences, a company spokesman said.
The decision was taken after an investigation happened over last month’s crash of PIA Airbus A320 on May 22 that killed 97 people in Karachi. Abdullah Hafeez, a spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, didn’t give additional details about the cheating but said a process to fire the pilots had been initiated.
“We will make it sure that such unqualified pilots never fly aircraft again,” he told sources. He said the safety of passengers was the airline’s top priority.
Pakistan’s aviation minister Ghulam Sarqar Khan claimed 262 out of 860 Pakistani pilots had “fake” licenses. While talking about preliminary findings of a probe to parliament into the May 22 Airbus A320 aircraft crash, he made the revelation.
The revelation stunned lawmakers present in the National Assembly and shocked family members of passengers who died last month. Flight PK8303 after departing from the eastern city of Lahore went down in a congested residential area in Karachi, killing 97 people, including all the crew members. There were only two survivors and a girl died on the ground.