All Pakistani pilots working in Vietnam were given clean chit by the government after they were grounded pending clearance from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority amid the fake licenses saga.
“They have valid and legitimate licenses and none have been involved in a flight incident or safety threat,” read a statement issued on Saturday.
“All licenses administered by the Pakistani aviation regulator are legitimate and valid. There are no fake licenses, as mentioned by the media,” a government statement said, citing a note from the Pakistani Embassy to the Vietnamese government.
Vietnam had licensed 27 Pakistani pilots and 12 of them were still active. The other 15 pilots’ contracts had expired or were inactive due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority.
Fake scandal saga
Pakistan last month had grounded almost a third of its pilots after discovering they may have falsified their qualifications.
Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, while briefing the National Assembly on a plane crash had said: “The inquiry which was initiated in February 2019 showed that 262 pilots did not give the exam themselves and asked someone else to give it on their behalf,” adding that the pilots did not have the proper flying experience either.
Soon after the statement, the national flag carrier was barred from entering the airspace of several countries and Pakistani pilots — who had received their credentials from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) — were grounded.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency had suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorisation to fly to the bloc for six months in a major blow to the carrier’s operations.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also downgraded Pakistan’s air safety rating, while barring the PIA from entering the airspace. Meanwhile, the UK Civil Aviation Authority also suspended the national flag carrier’s operations from three airports — Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester.
Airlines in 10 countries had demanded proof of valid flying licences for their Pakistani pilots after the shocking statement from the aviation minister.
In all, the foreign airlines asked for proof of 176 Pakistani pilot licences.
Of these, 166 “have been validated as genuine and certified by the CAA Pakistan as having no anomaly,” the CAA said in a statement.
The “process for the remaining 10 shall be concluded by next week,” it added.
The 10 airlines asking for proof of valid Pakistani pilots´ licences were from Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong, according to the CAA.