Pakistan’s state-run airline said Thursday it will ground 150 pilots, accusing them of obtaining licenses by having others take exams for them, an accusation that followed a probe into last month’s crash that killed 97 people in Karachi.
Abdullah Hafeez, a spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, did not give additional details about the alleged cheating but said a process to fire the pilots had been initiated.
“We will make it sure that such unqualified pilots never fly aircraft again,” he told The Associated Press. He said the safety of passengers was the airline’s top priority.
Alarmed over the situation, the International Air Transport Association said it was following reports from Pakistan “regarding fake pilot licenses, which are concerning and represent a serious lapse in the licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator”.
The global airline organization said it was seeking more information.
The move by PIA to ground the pilots comes a day after the country’s aviation minister, Ghulam Sarqar Khan, said 262 out of 860 Pakistani pilots had “fake” licenses. He made the revelation while presenting preliminary findings of a probe to parliament into the May 22 Airbus A320 crash.
Read more: AP