The EASA states in the letter: “You may be aware of the information available in the public domain indicating that a sizable portion (approximately.. 40%) of airline pilot licences issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) are either falsified and/or otherwise not ICAO compliant. This is a grave safety concern”
The EASA also shared measures taken in relation to “alleged irregularities” concerning pilot licenses issued by Pakistan authorities. As per EASA, all aviation authorities of the 32 EASA member states are recommended to consider the suspension of validation issued against Pakistani licenses. And that the agency has notified the PCAA with these recommendations.
The decision follows the crash of a PIA Airbus A320 on a scheduled flight from Lahore to Karachi on 22 May. Ninety-seven passengers and crew died after a botched “go-around” that damaged the plane on the first attempt at landing. The preliminary report found the captain and first officer disregarded standard procedures and ignored alarms.
As reported by BBC, Pakistan’s aviation minister told parliament that a large number of commercial pilots hold fake licences or cheated in exams, after the initial crash report was released.
PIA’s Twitter account had came out with a series of tweets on this development on June 25 and 30, 2020.
There was a time when Pakistan operated one of the best airlines in the world. The airline initially began its operations as Orient Airways in Calcutta in 1946, later shifted operations to a newly independent Pakistan in 1947.
In 1955, the airline was nationalized and renamed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). It was the same year the airline started international flights, with a service to London, via Cairo and Rome. PIA had then acquired the Lockheed Super Constellation and become the leading Asian airline to acquire a jet aircraft with the induction of a Boeing 707. It was also the first non-communist airline to fly to China.
These ads, mostly from the 1960s, provide a glimpse into the golden age of PIA, when there was something thrilling about taking a flight. That was also the golden age of PIA advertising as well as it had something to boast about.
The airline’s slogan was coined by a Pakistani writer and it received an extraordinary endorsement from Jacqueline Kennedy, who, after a flight in 1962, hugged the pilot and repeated the tagline, ‘Great people to fly with’.
The current government of Pakistan had made election campaign promises to uproot corruption from the country and bring forward its glorious potential, and a system based on merit throughout the country. According to media sources, and reported by VOA, “the suspect licenses” were issued between 2010 and 2018 when the country’s two main political forces – the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N – were in power respectively.
Critics and analysts have been praising the current government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to have taken such a bold step and exposed the level of corruption and nepotism that has plagued the national carrier.
International bodies have an important role to play, as it is in the best interest of not only the people of Pakistan and PIA, but also international safety, that PIA is returns to operating the way international airlines are expected, safely.
Cover Photo: PIA aircraft at Toronto Pearson Airport – MainstreamCanadian.ca | Image Archives: History of PIA