Islamabad, July 16 (IANS) In what appeared to be a direct contradiction to Pakistani Aviation Ministers allegation that almost 40 per cent of the country’s pilots possessed ‘fake licences, the Islamabad-based Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said that all commercial/airline transport pilots licences (CPL/ATPL) it issued “are genuine and validly issued”.
“It is important to clarify that all CPL/ATPL pilot licences issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority are genuine and validly issued. None of the pilot licences are fake, rather the matter has been misconstrued and incorrectly highlighted in the media/social media,” Dawn news reported on Thursday citing CAA Director General Hassan Nasir Jamy as saying in a letter dated July 13.
The letter was addressed to Mubarak Saleh Al Gheilani, the acting DG of Civil Aviation Regulation, Muscat, Oman, in response to his July 2 letter and July 9 email with regard to safety concerns over licences of Pakistani pilots working with his country’s airline.
Jamy, who is also the secretary of aviation division, told the Omani official that the CAA had already verified/cleared “96 Pakistani pilots out of 104 names received from various civil aviation authorities/foreign airlines (UAE/GACA, Vietnam Airlines, Bahrain Air, Civil Aviation Malaysia, Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department and Turkish Airlines)”.
Last month, while furnishing before the National Assembly a preliminary report on the May 22 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash in Karachi, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had claimed that 40 per cent of the country’s pilots held “fake licences”.
He later said that 262 airlines’ pilots had falsified their credentials and of them 141 belonged to the PIA, nine from Air Blue and 10 from Serene Air.
The remaining pilots were affiliated with flying clubs, chartered plane services or foreign airlines, he said.
The CAA suspended the licences of only 34 pilots of the PIA and issued them a show-cause notice to explain as to how they performed flying duty and appeared in a written exam on a same date.
The issue of ‘fake’ licences drew world attention after the aviation minister’s statement last month and the European Union Air Safety Agency suspended PIA authorisation to operate to the EU member states for six months, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also shared its concern over the serious lapse in the licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator, Dawn news reported.
The US Department of Transportation had also revoked permission for the PIA to conduct charter flights to America.