The news of fake pilot licenses is all over the internet, and things could not get much worse when even Vietnam grounds Pakistani pilots, the United Arab Emirates suspend flights from Pakistan, International Air Traffic Association (IATA) shows grave concern, following the 6-month long ban from European Union the United Kingdom also suspends flights from Pakistan for the same duration.
Everything seems to be falling apart for Pakistani aviation sector after the country’s aviation minister stated while in the parliament that every 1 out of 3 pilots in Pakistan holds a fake license, as the initial investigation of PIA’s A320 crash reveals the reason for the crash to be pilot’s error.
What’s more disturbing is the fact that it is just not the semi-Government airline that is guilty of hiring pilots with ‘fake’ licenses, the private airlines in the country are equally responsible. Here is a list that shows how troubling the entire saga is:
One begs the question is that how could a country and its licensing authority remain unaware of such a massive number of frauds against a profession which holds a great repute and has hundred of lives on their hands.
Let’s understand who is responsible or who is not, and even if the news is blown out of proportions or not.
Starting at Pakistani flight schools:
Becoming a pilot in Pakistan is no different than many other countries. Just like the rest of the world, Pakistani airlines hire pilots who are graduate from local flight schools and have served in the Pakistan Air Force or Pakistan Naval Aviation. The country has 7 flight schools that are accredited by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
These schools offer training in the single-engine Cessna 150 aircraft, have instructors that are well qualified as usually these schools are owned by ex-Pakistan Air Force or Pakistan International Airlines pilots. A cadet pilot has to complete their ground training but before they can enter a flying school, there are some pre-requisites that are to be completed.