Show-cause notices were issued to 30 more Pakistani pilots with 'dubious licences' after completion of an inquiry as the government sped up the scrutiny process of suspected pilots, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said. While addressing a press conference at the Rawalpindi secretariat of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday, he said the cabinet would decide the fate of pilots though a valid point of case-to-case hearing, reports Dawn news.
He said an inquiry board was constituted that started scrutiny of pilots' licences and a discrepancy was found. "Inquiry board found 850 pilots with suspected credentials and out of the total suspicious 262 licences were found 'dubious'," the Minister said, adding that the inquiry report was presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan after which 28 pilots were served with show-cause notices, charge-sheeted and then they were given a chance for a personal hearing.
After the personal hearing, they were suspended as nine of them confessed to having dubious licences. About the suspension of Pakistan International Airlines authorisation by the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months from July 1, 2020, the Minister told the media the PIA had the right to appeal against the decision.
"We have been verifying credentials of Pakistani pilots serving with other airlines in Malaysia, Emirates and other airlines, though MCAA has not provided the list of Pakistani pilots so far. "The solid base verification of pilots will be done and only those who will be certified would be allowed to fly planes," Dawn news quoted Khan as saying.
On June 24, Emirates had temporarily suspended passenger services from Pakistan till July 3 after about 30 Pakistanis who arrived in Hong Kong on board an Emirates flight-tested COVID-19 positive. Of the 30 male and female passengers, some showed coronavirus symptoms, while others were asymptomatic. But on Friday, Emirates airline announced that it has resumed passenger services to Pakistan's four main cities of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Sialkot after a temporary suspension, but with a condition that passengers will be required to carry a negative COVID-19 report from a specified laboratory.