THE issue of dubious pilot licenses continues to haunt our aviation industry. In the latest embarrassment, the United Nations has now cautioned the staff of all its agencies worldwide not to travel by any Pakistan registered airline.
Previously one also saw as to how our flights into Europe were banned as well as Pakistani pilots were suspended from various international airlines soon after the inquiry into Karachi plane incident disclosed that a good number of Pakistani pilots hold fake degrees or cheated in exams. Though many pilots were also grounded, yet the very credibility of our pilots is still at stake and it will remain so until our authorities concerned come clean on the matter. Whilst the issuance of licenses to the pilots has been put on hold over the last few months, it is important that a strict mechanism should be put in place so that nobody in future could think of using unfair means in acquiring the license. As regards the UN caution, we understand the world body has taken the decision for the safety of its staff but there is a need to immediately engage with the UN officials to address their concerns and apprise them of the actual situation that those flying the planes hold genuine documents as their degrees were duly verified through a transparent process. Soon after the issue of fake licenses cropped up, several international airlines also got the licenses of Pakistan origin pilots verified and these proved to be valid ones. Our pilots are ranked amongst the best in the world and they still are engaged with several international airlines. Therefore, we will suggest the United Nations to review its decision of not flying in Pakistani airlines as there is a possibility that the other airline they have chosen to travel might be flown by a Pakistani pilot. Will they then not fly in that airline also? The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) must also immediately complete its safety audit so that the ban on our flights in Europe could also be lifted as it is causing immense loss to the national flag carrier.