ICAO Against Issuance Of New Flying Licenses In Pakistan

Pakistan International Airlines - Aviatorsbuzz
A file photo of a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft. Source: Wikipedia

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has advised Pakistan against issuing any new pilot licenses in the wake of a scandal over falsified licenses that has rocked the civil aviation sector in the country.

Reuters said it had reviewed an ICAO document which called to undertake “immediate corrective actions.”

The recommendations from ICAO, a specialised agency of the United Nations that works to ensure safety in international air transport, come days after Pakistan opened a criminal probe into 50 pilots and five civil aviation officials who allegedly helped them falsify credentials to secure pilot licences.

“Pakistan should improve and strengthen its licensing system to ensure that it takes into account all necessary processes and procedures and prevents inconsistencies and malpractices before new licenses are issued and privileges of suspended licenses are re-established,” ICAO, said in a previously unreported letter sent to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) last week.

A Pakistani aviation ministry official told Reuters that the country has not issued any new licenses since July, in the wake of the scandal.

The Montreal-based agency’s recommendations come ahead of an ICAO audit to assess the country’s aviation safety management systems.

The ICAO audit, originally scheduled for November this year, has been moved to June 2021, effectively giving the PCAA more time to work on reforms, the official said. A PCAA spokesman did not respond to a request for comment by Reuters.

An ICAO representative declined to comment on specific details, but said in an email to Reuters that ICAO is “helping Pakistan recognise concerns, and if they do not take swift action on them we will actively notify other countries about them.”

The CNN reported that addressing Pakistan’s National Assembly recently, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had said 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. Pakistan has 860 active pilots serving its domestic airlines — including the country’s Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flagship — as well as a number of foreign carriers, Khan said.

 

PIA has grounded all its pilots who hold fake licenses, effective immediately. “PIA acknowledges that fake licenses is not just a PIA issue but spread across the entire Pakistani airline industry,” spokesperson Abdullah Khan said, adding that some of the fake pilots also fly for foreign carriers.
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