- Minister says almost 40 percent pilots have fake licenses and lack flying experience
(Karachi) Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar transpired that there are more than 600 staff members in airlines including pilots possessed fake degrees and licenses.
Highlighting details of the plane crash investigation report in Islamabad on Wednesday, he said that PIA took action against the pilots and dismissed them over the matter. "There are 860 active pilots in the country and of them, 262 pilots did not even take their exams themselves."
He revealed almost 40 percent pilots have fake licenses and lack flying experience. He added that the government had started to take action against all such pilots.
He said the pilot and the Air Traffic Controller did not follow the procedure that led to the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) crash incident. He claimed the plane was 100 per cent okay and in working condition.
Sarwar said that the pilots were not “focused” because of the coronavirus outbreak. "“The pilots discussed about coronavirus pandemic in the last half-an-hour. They were not focused as their families were affected," he stated.
He maintained that both the pilot and co-pilot were fit and experienced. "There was no technical fault in the plane while data from the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) was decoded in the presence of foreign experts," he highlighted.
He said the plane took its first flight on May 7 and the crash happened on May 22. In between, it completed six flights successfully; five to and from Karachi and one to Sharjah.
"The pilot on the final approach did not identify any technical fault as well. At a distance of 10 miles from runway, the plane should have been at an altitude of 2,500 feet but it was around 7,220 feet. This was the first irregularity," he mentioned.
The aviation minister said the ATC told the pilot thrice that the plane was too low to land but he refused to listen. Another important factor was that the pilot closed the landing gears at a distance of five nautical miles from the runway even though they were open before, he added.
Khan said that the plane was on auto-landing but the pilot brought it back to manual landing before the crash. It should have come in at 40 degrees but it dived at 60 degrees, he added.
The minister also blamed the pilots' "overconfidence and lack of focus" for the crash.
Regarding past crashes, including the Air Blue crash in 2010, Bojha Airlines crash in 2012, plane crash in Chitral in 2016 and the crash landing of a plane in Gilgit in 2019, he said that Air Blu and Bojha Airlines crash occurred due to human error and various breaches of flying discipline.
He added that the technical fault in the Chitral incident was so complicated that the plane manufacturer itself has not been able to reach a conclusion yet.
However, he said that the reports of the accidents will also be made public after completing investigations.
On May 22, PIA flight PK8303, carrying 99 people including 8 crew members, crashed into a residential area near Karachi airport. There were only two survivors.