Vietnam grounds 27 Pakistani pilots over fake degree concerns

By Doan Loan   June 27, 2020 | 08:56 pm GMT+7
Vietnam grounds 27 Pakistani pilots over fake degree concerns
A police officer stands guard beside a truck loaded with the wreckage of the crashed Pakistan International Airlines' PK8303 plane, in Karachi, Pakistan May 28, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Akhtar SoomroR.

27 Pakistani pilots working for Vietnamese airlines have been suspended following Pakistan discovering 262 local pilots used fake airplane licenses.

Dinh Viet Thang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), said Saturday that the decision had come into force on Thursday. The grounded pilots are those having airplane licenses issued by Pakistan.

The suspension will be removed if Vietnamese aviation authorities' review proves their licenses and qualifications are legal, Thang said.

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The had earlier requested CAAV to ground Pakistani pilots to review their licenses, and suspend foreign pilots using Pakistan-issued certificates suspected to be counterfeit.

The also asked CAAV to review the qualifications of all foreign pilots working for Vietnamese airlines and address suspected cases of fraud.

The administration must report to the Transport Ministry by the end of next month.

Thang of CAAV said that initial findings show no foreign pilot, apart from the Pakistani pilots, have Pakistan-issued certificates.

Last month, Pakistani authorities suspended 262 pilots on suspicion of using fraudulent licenses after an initial investigation into a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash in May came to light.

A total 262 out of 860 Pakistani pilots reportedly hired somebody else to take the license examination on their behalf and were not qualified to operate an aircraft, the investigation revealed.

The PIA PK8303 Airbus crashed when landing at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi in southern Pakistan on May 22, causing 97 deaths. The pilots were to blame, according to findings.

They were thrice notified by air traffic controllers the aircraft was too high and that they should not attempt to land, instructions the captain seemed to have ignored.

Vietnam's aviation market has six domestic players: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Jetstar Pacific, Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO), Bamboo Airways, and newly-licensed Vietstar Airlines, a military-run company. The government in April this year approved tour operator Vietravel's proposal to set up an airline, making it another potential entrant in the fast-growing sector.

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