The largest expert travel community:
  • 774,151 Total members
  • 7,201 Users online now
  • 1,728,941 Threads
  • 31,919,558 Posts

Pakistan International Airlines Grounds Pilots Amid Fraud Scandal

Pakistan International Airlines Grounds Pilots Amid Fraud Scandal
Joe Cortez

After a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed in May 2020, the carrier is grounding 150 pilots on suspicion of fraud. State officials say nearly 30 percent of the nation’s pilots had fake credentials after earning wings through friends taking exams on their behalf.

Pakistan International Airlines is grounding 150 pilots on suspicion they fraudulently earned their pilot’s licenses. The Associated Press reports the airline is working through its ranks after an investigation revealed a number of unqualified aviators.

Pilots May Not Have Taken Flight Classes or Tests

The inquiry comes after the crash of Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 on Friday, May 22, 2020. The Airbus A320 came down near the heavily populated city of Karachi, while attempting to land at Jinnah International Airport (KHI). 97 people were killed in the accident.

Although the pilots of the doomed flight were described as “medically fit and qualified to fly,” the investigation showed that the operators aborted their first landing attempt before ignoring tower warnings over the plane’s altitude. The crash happened during the second attempted landing, after the engines took damage from the first attempt.

After review, the nation’s aviation minister claimed around 30 percent of pilot’s licenses issued may be invalid. According to aviation chief Ghulam Sarqar Khan, as many as 262 of the 860 valid licenses issued in the nation could be “fake,” or obtained through illicit means. While neither the minister nor the airline described how these licenses were faked, they alleged that the pilots in question did not take the exams required to become certified pilots.

Pilot Issue Could be Part of Systemic Problem

Although the probe shed light on a major issue inside the Pakistani aviation industry, it may only be part of a bigger problem. Speaking on the condition of anonymity to the AP, company insiders claimed Pakistan International Airlines identified at least four pilots disqualified over alleged falsified exam results in 2018. The group in question were fired over the findings.

The crash happened prior to the Muslim festival of Eid, as PIA and other regional aviators were loosening restrictions from the novel Coronavirus outbreak. The aviation ministry will now contact pilots who they believe are holding bad pilot’s licenses. It’s unclear whether or not the pilots will have a second attempt to prove their flight knowledge.

View Comments (8)


  1. amanuensis


    June 25, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    “Although the probe shed light on a major issue inside the Pakistani aviation industry, it may only be part of a bigger problem.” Ya think?

    There obviously is a bigger problem. It seems impossible that that many pilots could have been lacking proper qualifications without executives in the airline having known something about it and doing nothing obvious to solve it, prior to the accident.

  2. steviebaby

    June 26, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Yes exactly how come now after the umpteenth accident in 10 years their CAA says that they believe there maybe pilots holding fake licences? !! They just started to believe this ? Or they knew before ??? What do they mean by this ??? They should also be jailed if they now. ‘believe’ this and immediately without trial.

  3. crunchie

    June 26, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    If this really is as widespread as suggested, how did it go on for so long? Won’t an experienced, qualified pilot notice his partner doesn’t really know his job? This goes well beyond executives. There has to be complicity, incompetence or indifference throughout the company. Why are they still allowed to fly internationally?

  4. davistev

    June 26, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    It is common knowledge that many flight schools in the area will add hours to flight training logs for a “fee”. Flight training schools in Canada, Australia and the USA are able to secure training contracts from reputable foreign airlines to counter these types of practices. This is not a surprise in the aviation industry and certanly not unique to Pakistan.

  5. zarkov505

    June 26, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    The question then becomes “How did they manage to do their day-to-day jobs, how did they manage to pass their simulator checks, if they didn’t actually learn the material?”

    Many, many years ago, I took (and passed) the Private Pilot written test. There is a LOT of stuff that a pilot needs to know, and remember, and do, and deal with. I expect that Instrument and Commercial are just as tough, and ATP is a whole ‘nother can of worms.

  6. Ifti Khan

    June 26, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    I am not surprised! Anyone is? That country has a corruption rate that beats 99.9 % of the world. That I have not to date, flown this airline, means a Greater authority is looking after me. For the rest of you, the Greater authority is giving you a second chance to repent.

  7. amnicoll

    June 27, 2020 at 2:26 am

    I wonder how they got to that figure and how many of the engineers maintaining the fleet are similarly unqualified

    As a Brit I would have hoped that our CAA would have taken note and banned PIA from flying in British airspace

  8. Bretteee

    July 3, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Are the mechanics qualified too? a friend told me never to fly with them.

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Airlines

American Changes Reinstatement Fees on Award Tickets, Mileage Expiration for Minors

Joe CortezJuly 3, 2020
An airport worker sanitizes an escalator at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Photo courtesy: Chicago Department of Aviation.

IATA and Airports Council Want Governments to Pay for COVID-19 Measures

Joe CortezJuly 2, 2020
American Airlines Leaving Hilton, Choice, Best Western

American Overstaffed by 20,000, Including 8,000 Flight Attendants

Joe CortezJuly 2, 2020

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.


I want emails from FlyerTalk with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails