Dhaka: The United Arab Emirates is seeking to verify the credentials of Pakistani pilots and engineers employed in its airlines, as global concern mounts after the Pakistan government suspended 262 pilots for holding “dubious” qualifications on June 26.
The suspension took place on suspicion that the pilots allegedly falsified their examinations to qualify for flying aircraft.
The move followed a preliminary investigation report on a Pakistan International Airlines' plane crash in Karachi in May that found the pilots had failed to follow standard procedures and disregarded alarms. 97 people died in that crash.
In a letter to Pakistani aviation authorities, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, requested verification of the credentials of Pakistani pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, and flight operations officers working in the Middle Eastern country.
Pakistan has a total of 860 pilots, 107 of whom work for foreign airlines, according to the country’s aviation minister.
“We would like to request your good offices to verify the licensing credentials of the attached pilots list who are currently holding UAE’s pilots licenses based on licenses and qualifications issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority,” the letter said.
On June 30, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended two Pakistani airlines’ authorisation to fly to the bloc for six months, and a day earlier Vietnam announced that it was grounding all 12 Pakistani pilots working in the country.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi assured his EU counterpart Josep Borrel in a telephone call on July 1 that comprehensive reforms are being brought in the country’s national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
PIA, which is said to have 141 pilots with “dubious” licenses, has been the hardest hit by EASA’s suspension.