Pakistan national airline grounds third of pilots over 'dubious' licences
A Pakistan International Airlines plane is preparing to land at Islamabad Airport in Islamabad - Reuters
The Pakistani national airline will land a third of its pilots on suspicion of "dubious" licenses and flight certificates.
The move was announced after flight accident investigators blamed a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot for the crash in Karachi last month that killed 99 people.
A government minister said the crew was too confident and distracted by a conversation about the corona virus when the PIA Airbus A320 crashed on May 22.
PIA was highly ranked among the world's airlines until the 1970s, but its reputation has declined due to delays, cancellations, and financial problems. The airline is embarrassed that pilots have fallen asleep or turned up drunk.
"We were told that an investigation by the civil aviation authority has shown that around 150 of our pilots have dubious licenses," company spokesman Abdullah Khan told Reuters.
Pilot qualification investigations began after a previous crash and it was determined that the pilot's license may have been forged. The test date stated on his license was a public holiday. Another pilot was out of the country on the day he was said to be tested, Mr Khan said.
In 2017, a PIA pilot was investigated who may endanger the lives of more than 305 passengers by blaming a budding pilot while napping in a passenger seat. The pilot was reportedly photographed while lying in a blanket, but was unable to sleep.
In 2013, a PIA pilot was sentenced to nine months in prison for drunkenness as he prepared to fly 156 passengers.
The 55-year-old Irfan Faiz was found three times above the legal limit, the prosecutor told Leeds Crown Court.
The father of two was on his feet and smelled of alcohol in the cockpit when he checked the flight from Leeds Bradford to Islamabad.
Airlines continued to be embarrassed in 2017 when British border officials first, and then Pakistani officials, found heroin submissions hidden on PIA flights between countries. At the time, the airline was investigating whether employees had connections to drug dealers.
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