30 more pilots with fake degrees terminated: Ghulam Sarwar

141 of the pilots belonged to PIA while nine of them work for Air Blue and Serene Air, Sarwar said

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Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar says pilots with fake degrees have been grounded. Photo: File

RAWALPINDI: Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Saturday said degrees of 30 more pilots out of the 262 suspected of obtaining dubious licences have turned out to be fake and they have been terminated, reported The News.

Addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi, Khan said that out of the overall pilots who were alleged to have dubious credentials, 141 of them belong to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) while nine of them work for Air Blue and Serene Air.

“They [pilot] have been grounded immediately,” the minister said.

“We will take strict action against pilots found possessing dubious or fake licenses,” Khan said while terming the PIA pilots as one of the most professional ones in the world.

The aviation minister added that they were cleaning the mess of the previous governments as neither pilots were recruited after 2018 nor any test was conducted to issue licences during the period.

He added the aviation ministry saw political recruitments with 11 chief executives of the PIA replaced during the past 10 years, noting that when they took over, PIA was Rs462 billion in debt.

Speaking about the European ban, Khan said flight operations to Europe remained suspended temporarily and that PIA had the right to appeal on the decision.

“The national flag carrier has not purchased any plane since 2006,” Khan said.

“We have to rectify our errors to make PIA one of the best airlines,” he said adding that the case of five Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials posted at the licencing section would be referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and no one would be spared for committing fraudulent activities.

He said that the airlines across the globe had suffered losses of $350 billion due to COVID-19 pandemic and have terminated their staff due to the ongoing situation.

“In the current situation, we have brought down PIA losses from Rs4 billion to Rs1 billion," he said, adding that overall losses suffered by the national flag carrier during the pandemic have reached up to Rs6 billion.

The aviation minister said that similarly, the CAA was suffering losses of Rs2 billion weekly, making it a loss of Rs20 billion in a month in terms of flying charges it receives.

Originally published in The News