Islamabad, Pakistan – On Wednesday the 24th of June 2020, Pakistan’s Aviation Ministry revealed the most extraordinary and terrible story in the aviation history: “Almost 1 in 3 of civilian pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses and are not qualified to fly”!
And in his talk with Pakistan’s National Assembly, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that 262 pilots in the country did not take the exam themselves and had paid someone else to sit it on their behalf. “They don’t have flying experience,” he said.
860 active pilots are serving Pakistan’s domestic airlines, including the country’s Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flagship and a number of foreign carriers, Khan said.
PIA has grounded all its pilots who hold fake licenses, effective immediately.
Spokesperson for PIA Abdullah Khan said:”PIA acknowledges that fake licenses is not just a PIA issue but rather one spread across the entire Pakistani airline industry,” adding that some of the fake pilots also fly for foreign carriers.
The results of the investigation were announced on Wednesday the 24th of this month as part of a preliminary report into the plane crash of PIA’s Flight PK8303 on 22 May in Karachi, that killed all but two of the passengers and crew on board after it departed from Lahore.
Khan did not clarify whether the two pilots on that flight held fake licenses.
According to the report, the pilots had a chat about the CoronaVirus and frequently ignored Air Traffic controllers’ warnings before the plane crashed in a residential area near the airport.
“The pilots were discussing corona throughout the flight. They were not focused. They talked about the coronavirus and how their families were affected,” Khan said, adding that the pilots were “overconfident.”
According to Khan, the pilots were told three times by air traffic controllers that the plane was too high to land and they should not attempt to land, “but the captain did not pay any attention to these instructions.”
The pilots proceeded with trying to land, without lowering the landing gear!
“The aircraft touched the runway surface on its engines,” the report said. The engines scrubbed the runway, causing sparks and irrecoverable damage.
And according to the report, the pilots pulled the plane back into the air but the damaged engines failed and caused the plane to crash.