More than thirty percent of all the pilots of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were no longer permitted to fly after it was revealed in a government investigation that hundred others across the country did not have the qualifications to fly and had fake licenses.
PIA said in a letter to the government sent by the airlines General Manager Syed Qamar Maqbool, that 141 of its 450 pilots will not be “utilized for any flying duties” as they had “suspicious licenses.
Furthermore, 262 pilots in the country did not take the exam themselves and had paid someone else to sit it on their behalf, according to the statement of Pakistan Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan. He also said that these pilots have no flying experience.
Khan added that all in all, Pakistan has 860 active pilots serving foreign and domestic airlines including PIA.
All major airlines across Pakistan had been issued lists of names of fake pilots, with a request that action should be taken to prevent them from flying, and PIA is the only one to take action.
The move to check on the pilots’ qualifications to fly was compelled by the PIA flight from Lahore that crashed in the southern city of Karachi, killing all but two of the passengers and crew on board. The plane crash that took the lives of 97 people happened last May 22nd of this year.
However, Khan did not clarify if the two pilots on flight PK 8303 were among those with fake licenses.
It was reported that the pilots of the said flight ignored warnings from air traffic controllers. They were talking about coronavirus before the plane went down in a residential area near the airport.
In a statement given by Khan, the pilots seemed overconfident. They were not focused, throughout the flight they talked about how their families were affected by the coronavirus.
Khan added that, “the captain did not pay any heed to the instructions by air traffic controllers that the plane was too high and they should not attempt to land, despite being told about it three times.” And without lowering the landing gear, the pilots proceeded with trying to land.
Reports said that aircraft touched the runway surface on its engines and scrubbed the runway, causing sparks and irreparable damage.
In an attempt to reverse the situation, the pilots pulled the plane back into the air, but the damaged engines failed and caused the plane to crash.