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PIA acknowledges plane crash report, says all pilots with ‘dubious licenses’ to be grounded

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) ‘acknowledged’ the preliminary report of the Karachi plane crash that left 97 people dead, saying that it would ground all pilots with “dubious licenses”. 

“PIA acknowledges the AAIB report and have already taken measures learning from it. An independent Flight Data Monitoring setup established to monitor and analyse all flights. All pilots with dubious licenses will be grounded. Safety is more imp. than any commercial interest,” tweeted the national flag bearer on Wednesday. 

The announcement from the airline came a few hours after Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan presented the Karachi plane crash preliminary report in the Parliament. 

The report held the pilots and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) responsible for the incident, stating that the cockpit crew did not seem focused on the job and were thinking about the coronavirus instead. 

Read morePreliminary report holds pilots, ATC responsible for PIA plane crash

Sarwar had revealed that it was observed that the pilot took the call from the ATC “very hurriedly” and told the tower that he would “manage”, after being informed that the aircraft was at a dangerous height. He added that recorder showed that even after taking the call, the pilots went back to their conversations about coronavirus.

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‘Almost 40% PIA pilots have fake licenses’

After speaking at length about how the tragedy had unfolded, the minister had shed light on the dismal situation of the airline about its pilots, saying that 40% of them were flying aircraft with fake licenses.

“Pakistan has 860 active pilots, which includes PIA, Serene Air, Air Blue. The inquiry which was initiated in February 2019 showed that 262 pilots did not give the exam themselves and asked someone else to give it on their behalf,” the minister said, adding that the pilots did not have the proper flying experience either.

“Pilots are also appointed on political basis, unfortunately,” he said. “Whilst appointing pilots, merit is ignored,” he added, disclosing that in another instance, degrees of four PIA pilots had been found to be fake.

Sarwar said that the government will take action against pilots who were found guilty of the above offenses. He said that the PIA will be ‘restructured’ and it will be taken back to its days of glory. 

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