by sheila

The Pakistani pilot’s scandal

In a country where corruption and injustices are common, scandals of any kind aren’t exactly new news. Thus, as dots began to connect themselves throughout the years, and through many incidents, people finally realized the issue with many Pakistani pilots. As rumors have it, many of them have obtained their flying license through questionable means. hence, through their ethical practices, they are endangering themselves and all of the people aboard. 

The start of the scandal

In June 2020, the aviation minister of Pakistan shed light on the issue stating that more than 30 percent of Pakistani pilots held “dubious” licenses. which they obtained through fraudulent methods. He gave that statement after the crash of an Airbus A320. 

Furthermore, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were the ones operating the airplane that crashed into a densely populated neighborhood in Karachi. The crash didn’t only kill 97 of the plane’s passengers, but it also caused the death of one civilian on the ground. 

Before the crash, reports state that the pilots of the plane paid no attention to the air traffic controller’s instruction. Thus, the crash and the following deaths were a result of human error.

Moreover, Though one crash by no means uncovers a scandal, this crash was PIA’s second airplane crash in the past five years. The last crash took place in December 2016 where it caused the death of all the people on board.

On the other hand, the Flight Safety Foundation revealed that at least 60 serious safety-related incidents took place in Pakistan since 1956. Thus, rumors of alleged patterns of unsafe approaches have also been floating around for a while. Though the only things that can either confirm or deny such allegations are the airline’s own Flight Data Management System (FDMS) and the country’s aviation regulator, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA).

Furthermore, the Flight Safety Foundation revealed that PIA has had 10 fatal crashes of its commercial aircraft since the 1960s. Those crashes killed at least 757 people throughout the years.  

Besides, the problem doesn’t only reside with the PIA. Over the past decade alone, Pakistan has witnessed five major gruesome air crashes. Every one of them caused the death of many people ranging from 40 death per crash to 152 innocents. 

Fake license allegations

The aviation minister allegations caused a great uproar nationally and internationally. He not only accused the pilots of not undergoing the flying exams themselves, but he also stated that 1 in 3 Pakistani pilots don’t have any substantial flying experience. 

Thus, the Pakistani authorities grounded a total of 262 pilots. 101 of the grounded pilots were from PIA. Moreover, several countries such as Malaysia, Ethiopia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Vietnam, Bahrain, and Turkey also participated in grounding all of their Pakistani pilots until the verification of their credentials. 

As for the PIA, the airline company is undergoing further disruptions. The United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States have chosen to suspend their landing rights on each of their lands. 

The fallout

Though the PIA is by no means the only airline participating in this scandal, it is experiencing the most disturbance for their ethical ways. People nationally and internationally are attributing the conflict with this one airline which is simply wrong. Many are also theorizing that putting all the blame on only one airline is simply yet another political agenda.

Moreover, authorities are overseeing further investigations on the conflict. 

Restructuring efforts

In the wake of this scandal, concerned authorities are working hard toward achieving better results. furthermore, the  PIA has recommended some restructuring and reforming advice concerning the PCAA to the Pakistani government.  

They are already taking measures to improve PIA’s safety index. Thus, they are hoping for EASA  to review their suspension decision. However, re-establishing the Pakistani credibility in the airline sector is going to be a real challenge for all of the involved. 


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