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Ghulam Sarwar: PIA should be restructured, fake pilots sacked

Aviation minister was speaking in Parliament

SAMAA | - Posted: Jun 24, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jun 24, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

Major changes are needed in the Pakistan International Airlines if we want to reach the same level as its glory days in the 1960s. The previous government spoke about privatising it but it should be restructured, said Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar.

Another major problem is the fake licences. “More than 90% of people in Pakistan get their driving licences without even appearing for the exam,” he said in the National Assembly session on Wednesday. The same has started happening for pilots too. Pilots were being hired on a political basis and were carrying fake licences, he said.

There are 860 pilots in the country right now. We launched an inquiry against those with fake licences and 54 cases emerged, said Sarwar, adding that show-cause notices were issued to 28 people. Nine pilots have confessed and the court is hearing cases against 18 others, he claimed. “We will no longer allow political hirings.”

The aviation minister also read out the interim report on the PK-8303 crash in which 97 people lost their lives on May 22. The report placed the blame on the pilot and air traffic controller.

The pilot ignored the instructions given by the control tower. He switched the landing from auto to manual and dived the plane for landing at a 60 degree angle than the recommended 30 degree angle, he claimed.

The two pilots were discussing the coronavirus situation throughout the flight. They were worried about their families and weren’t focused, Sarwar said. “The plane was absolutely fine.”

The ATC, on the other hand, should’ve told the pilots when he saw the engine catching fire over failure to land. “Both engines were damaged, and when the pilot asked for landing again he couldn’t do it and the plane fell on the civilian population.”

This is the interim report and more details will become available after the Airbus team completes its investigation, the federal minister added.

Four plane accidents have occurred in Pakistan in the recent past. Only the Chitral plane crash was because of a technical error. Pilots made the same mistake of overconfidence and no concentration in the Gilgit crash too, he said.

The Airblue crash occurred because of an “error of judgement, lack of professional skills and violation of conduct,” he said while reading out the report. The BhojaAir crash was caused by “bad weather conditions”, he said, adding that the “aircrew took incorrect decisions and violated procedures, the crew did not have adequate experience of management of automated flight tech and their competence skill level was lacking.”

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