Pakistan has been advised by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN specialized agency, to undertake “immediate corrective actions” and to suspend the issuance of any pilot licenses in the wake of the fake licenses scandal.
The recommendations from ICAO, a specialized agency of the United Nations that works to ensure safety in international air transport, come days after a criminal investigation was opened into 50 pilots and five civil aviation officials who allegedly helped them falsify identifications to secure pilot licenses.
As per the ICAO in a previously unreported letter of last week to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA), “Pakistan should improve and strengthen its licensing system to ensure that it takes into account all necessary processes and procedures and prevents inconsistencies and malpractices before new licenses are issued and privileges of suspended licenses are re-established.”
Moreover, no new license since July has been issued due to the scandal, as per the Pakistani aviation ministry official. The recommendations of the Montreal-based agency came ahead of an ICAO review to evaluate Pakistan’s aviation safety management systems.
The official further said, the ICAO audit that was initially programmed for November this year, has been moved to June, effectively giving the PCAA more time to work on reforms.
The spokesman of PCAA ignored the request for comment. An ICAO representative declined to comment on specific details, but said in an email that ICAO is “helping Pakistan to recognize concerns, and if they do not take swift action on them we will actively notify other countries about them.”
The pilot scandal has tainted the aviation industry and hurt flag carrier PIA that has been prohibited from flying into Europe and the United States. In addition to canceling the licenses of 50 pilots, another 32 pilots have been suspended for a year.