International pilots body offers to assist in PIA air crash, 'licensing scandal'

IFALPA says aviation minister's comments 'on brink of being reckless'

Our Correspondent July 08, 2020

The International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Association (IFALPA) has offered to assist Pakistan in the investigation of PIA flight 8303 which crashed in Karachi earlier this year, and the fake license allegations that were made in the aftermath.

"The international pilot community is deeply concerned about the unfounded statements made by the Pakistani Minister fo Aviation declaring that many Pakistani commercial pilots hold licenses that, in his words, are 'fake'," reads the letter written by IFALPA President Captain Jack Netskar to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

"We find these statements on the brink of being reckless not just for individuals named, but for Pakistan and its ability to continue operating international air services," claimed the IFALPA president, citing the recent ban placed on Pakistani airlines by the European Union as an immediate example of the impact of the aviation minister's statements.

Further, he added, it is clear to all independent observers that there are problems within the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and perhaps within the aviation community in Pakistan as well. Stressing on the need to address the 'percieved or real' problems for the sake of aviation safety, which is a common goal, he said that his oraganisation believes this could only be done with the inclusion of independent international bodies.

Captain Netskar offered assistance by IFALPA, and cited the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as other independent bodies which could participate in the process.

The letter added that the Pakistan Air Line Pilots Association (PALPA) has long been a member of IFALPA, and that "it is our desire to see PIA return to its historical place as an aviation leader in the region".

Captain Netskar concluded his letter with the assurance that IFALPA is a 'well respected and renowned aviation organisation' which can be relied upon to assist in both the ongoing PIA aircrash investigation and any task force which is created to deal with the 'licensing scandal'.

PIA flight PK8303, flying from Lahore to Karachi, crashed in a residential area on May 22, minutes before landing. All but two of the 99 persons on board were killed in the air crash.

Presenting the preliminary investigation report of the incident before the National Assembly last month, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that there were approximately 550 employees of the PIA with fake licenses.

At the time, the minister had also stated that IFALPA would provide one pilot and one technical expert to be made part of the investigation team to make the inquiry process more transparent and credible.


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