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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 January 2019

Pakistan cancels licences of 16 pilots over fake degrees

Country's Civil Aviation Authority also cancelled the licences of 65 cabin crew

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority told the country’s highest court that it had cancelled the licences of 16 pilots and 65 cabin crew. Reuters
Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority told the country’s highest court that it had cancelled the licences of 16 pilots and 65 cabin crew. Reuters

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday told the country’s highest court that it had cancelled the licences of 16 pilots and 65 cabin crew for holding fake high school and university degrees.

The CAA told Supreme Court judge Mian Saqib Nisar that the degrees of those working for Pakistan International Airlines – the country’s national flag carrier – were bogus.

“We have verified the degrees of everyone except for six people,”, a lawyer for the CAA told the court. “Pilots have the right to appeal against the suspension of their licences,” he said. It is thought the fake degrees were from foreign institutions.

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Mr Nisar said the decision to cancel the licences was a necessary one. “We do not want to halt anyone’s source of income but we will not allow anyone to continue working with fake ­academic degrees,” he said.

Last month, AFP reported that the airline fired 50 staffers, including three pilots, for fake high school certificates.

PIA, considered a global leader in commercial aviation until the 1970s, has been plagued by controversy in recent years and is saddled with billions of dollars of debt.

It was widely ­derided in 2016 for sacrificing a goat next to a plane to ward off bad luck, weeks after one of its aircraft crashed, killing 47 people.

Last year it had to apologise after forgetting to load two sets of human remains scheduled to be flown to Pakistan from New York.

And in 2013 one of its pilots was jailed in Britain for being drunk before he was to fly a jet from Leeds to Islamabad with 156 people on board.

PIA employees have also been periodically investigated for drug smuggling, especially after drugs were seized on a Dubai-bound flight in 2016.

Updated: January 10, 2019 05:03 PM

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