The Aviation Authority of Vietnam recently grounded all Pakistani pilots working for local airlines in the country. This step to remove Pakistani pilots has been taken at a time when global regulators have expressed concern that some pilots could be using fake licenses.
Dinh Viet Thang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), said on Saturday that the decision had come into force on Thursday. The grounded pilots are the ones who are having an airplane license issued in Pakistan.
In fact, the global airline body IATA recently said that irregularities have been found in the licenses of pilots of Pakistani international airlines, “which is a serious omission in safety control”. After this, Pakistan said last week that it is removing 262 airline pilots whose credibility may be fake.
The Chief of the CAAV has ordered the suspension of all Pakistani pilots working for Vietnamese airlines,” the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said in a statement, according to news agency Reuters.
This suspension will continue until the next order of CAAV. According to the statement, the administration is talking to the Pakistani administration to review the pilot’s profile.
According to CAAV, Vietnam had licensed 27 Pakistani pilots and 12 of them are still active. However, the contracts of the other 15 pilots have either expired or are inactive due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the 12 active pilots, 11 were working for budget airlines VietJet Aviation and one for Jetstar Pacific. CAAV reported that Vietnam Airlines and Bambo Airways were not using the services of any Pakistans pilots.
There are currently 1,260 pilots in Vietnam’s airlines. According to CAAV, half of them have foreign citizenship. According to media reports, apart from Pakistan’s traditional allies in the Gulf – Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman have also decided to remove pilots of Pakistan origin due to a fake license issue. There were also reports that a Kuwait airline, one of the oldest airways in West Asia, has removed all its seven Pakistani-origin pilots.
A UK-based Pakistani-origin journalist Gul Bukhari had tweeted – Kuwait Airways has removed all 7 Pakistani pilots, suspended 56 engineers and removed the handling staff over the fake license case. Similar news is also coming from Qatar, Oman, Emirates and Vietnam.
An expert tracking the civil aviation sector told the Economic Times that the international civil aviation organization should take cognizance of this and also think about suspending Pakistani international airlines in view of the wider interest of the passengers.
Earlier, Pakistan’s national carrier has written to regulatory bodies to inform them it has grounded scores of pilots suspected of procuring licenses through unlawful means in a bid to ease global concerns over the issue, according to the PTI.
The issue of commercial pilots possessing suspicious licences came to light after the preliminary probe report of the Karachi plane crash blamed the pilots and the air traffic control for the disaster that killed 97 people.
Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan revealed in the National Assembly that a large number of commercial pilots possessed ‘dubious licences’. After the severe backlash, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) moved into action and wrote to foreign missions and regulatory bodies.