RAWALPINDI: Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said on Tuesday that he stands by his previous statement, given on the floor of the National Assembly regarding pilots with dubious licences.
Forensic investigation revealed that 262 of the country’s 860 active pilots either had suspicious licences or had cheated in their exams, he added while talking to reporters after participating in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Hashoo group. Both parties have agreed upon mutual cooperation towards promoting tourism.
“All of the 262 pilots were given the right of personal hearing and action was taken against only 82 pilots,” the aviation minister said, adding nothing was done wrongfully.
Responding to another question, he said strict action had been initiated against officials from the licence branch of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after they were found guilty. Their cases were referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for criminal probe.
Regarding IHC’s directive about appointment of a director general in the authority within three days, the minister said 600 applications were received for the post, of which 73 were eligible. Around 18 applicants were short listed however, none of them could qualify for the post as they did not have relevant experience, he said, adding, an advertisement for the post will be published again soon.
The attorney general had informed IHC that the government has been in the process of appointing a DG CAA in accordance with the law. Mr Khan said the cabinet has given approval for restructuring of PIA which is over staffed, adding: “As many as 7,000 staff members had to be laid off as part of the restructuring of the airline, however, they will be given a choice.”
Earlier, PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arshad Malik said in his address, that despite the current crisis in the aviation industry, Hashoo Group has extended support to PIA towards promoting tourism in the county.
“We have to come out of the crisis as we have been working hard. We have been working on Gwadar which is very vital for the future of the country. Besides, we have been working on other development projects too,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2020