Pakistan grounds over 261 airline pilots with ‘dubious’ credentials

Pakistan has grounded 262 airline pilots suspected of dodging their exams following inquiries into their qualifications, the aviation minister said Friday in a move that caused global concern.
The action was prompted by a preliminary report on a plane crash in Karachi last month that killed 97 people. The report found the pilots had failed to follow standard procedures and disregarded alarms. The airline, Pakistan International Airlines, said Thursday it would ground pilots with “dubious” licences.

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ISLAMABAD — 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.”

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