RAWALPINDI: Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that degrees of 30 more pilots out of the 262 pilots suspected of obtaining dubious licences have turned out to be fake.
Addressing a presser on Saturday, the aviation minister said that out of the overall pilots who were declared dubious, 141 of them belong to the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) while nine of them work for Air Blue and Serene Air. “They are grounded immediately,” he said.
He said that the flight operations to Europe remained suspended temporarily and the PIA has the right to appeal against the decision. “We will take stern action against the pilots who are found possessing dubious or fake licences,” said Ghulam Sarwar while terming the PIA pilots as one of the most professional pilots.
The aviation minister said that they are cleaning the mess of the previous governments as neither pilots were recruited after 2018 nor any test was conducted to issue licences during the period.
“The Aviation Ministry saw political recruitments with 11 chief executives of the PIA replaced during the past 10 years,” he said, adding that they took over the PIA with Rs462 billion debt.
The national flag carrier has not purchased any plane since 2006, said Sarwar. “We have to rectify our errors to make PIA one of the best airlines,” he said, adding that the case of five Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials posted at the licensing section would be referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and no one would be spared for committing fraudulent activities.
He said that the airlines across the globe have suffered losses of $350 billion due to Covid-19 pandemic and many international airlines have terminated their staff due to the ongoing situation.
“In the current situation, we have brought down PIA losses from Rs4bn to Rs1bn,” he said, adding that overall losses suffered by the national flag carrier during the pandemic have reached up to Rs6bn.
The aviation minister said that similarly, the CAA is suffering losses of Rs2bn weekly, making it a loss of Rs20bn in a moth in terms of flying charges it receives.
Separately, Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan chaired the oath taking ceremony of 250 members of the Tiger Force at Rawalpindi Arts Council.
While addressing the tiger force, Sarwar said that the government of PTI has faced numerous challenges from its first year in government. He said, “We tackled the spread of dengue virus and now we are successfully controlling Covid-19.”
He said that the policy of smart lockdown of Prime Minister Imran Khan is a success and is now being followed by the western developed countries as well. He acknowledged the untiring efforts of the entire medical and police force and appreciated their zeal and vigour with which they are serving the people of Pakistan in the tough time of corona.
He said that nobody is safe from this virus and encouraged the youth to lead the fight against this virus by following the relevant SOPs developed by the government. He appreciated the spirit of the youth who have stepped forward to fight the spread of this pandemic.
He lauded their efforts to work free of charge for the betterment of the society and expressed hope that the future of Pakistan is bright under the leadership of PTI. He said that the current government has initiated the biggest social protection program in the history of Pakistan. He said that the PM Imran Khan feels the trouble of the people living below the poverty line and it is one his top priorities to enable these people to rise above the poverty line.