Vietnam has suspended 27 Pakistani pilots working at local airlines after 262 of 860 civilian commercial pilots in Pakistan were found to have fake licenses.
“All of the pilots are of Pakistani nationality and licensed in the country. These pilots are working at several airlines in Việt Nam,” Đinh Việt Thắng, Civil Aviation Administration of Việt Nam (CAAV), was quoted as saying by Vietnam News Agency.
Minister of Transport of Vietnam Nguyễn Văn Thể has asked the CAAV to review the licenses and certificates of foreign pilots who are working at local airlines. The minister ordered ban of fight missions of pilots suspected of counterfeiting documents in Pakistan.
There are reportedly about a thousand of foreign pilots working for domestic airlines including Vietnam Airlines, Vasco, Vietjet Air, Jetstar and Bamboo Airways.
Pakistan’s shocking fake license scandal came to light when aviation authorities were investigating the fatal PIA PK-8303 airplane crash. The airliner crashed into a congested residential area 5km short of Karachi international airport on May 22, killing 97 people on board.
On June 22, Pakistani investigating team stated that the plane hit the ground after both the pilot and the air traffic controller (ATC) erred.
A provisional inquiry report said the pilot of the ill-fated flight was “overconfident” as he failed to follow Standard Operating Procedures for landing. The ATC also gave the go-ahead to the pilot for making a second attempt for landing after the first one failed. The aircraft lost both engines after two failed landing attempts, local media had reported.
Thắng said the CAAV is awaiting results of a review from Pakistani authorities to determine whether the suspended pilots had used fake licenses. Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport is expecting submission of results by July 31, 2020.
Pilots obtain their licenses in countries they were trained. “When a foreign pilot wants to work in Việt Nam, he/she must transfer that license into a Việt Nam’s recognised license. It required the pilot to go through the testing process of the CAAV,” Thắng explained.