EU bans Pakistan national airline flights over pilot exam cheats

PIA will not be able to fly into the EU for at least six months because of doubts over validity of pilot licences

So far, 150 PIA pilots have been grounded for cheating in their exams.
 So far, 150 PIA pilots have been grounded for cheating in their exams. Photograph: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

The European Union’s aviation safety agency announced today that Pakistan’s national airline would not be allowed to fly into Europe for at least six months after the country’s aviation minister revealed that nearly a third of Pakistani pilots had cheated during their pilot’s exams.

Pakistan International Airlines spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said PIA had not been flying to Europe because of the pandemic. But the airline had hoped to resume its flights to Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris, Barcelona and Milan within the next two months.

“It is hurting us really bad,” he said of the pilots scandal.

An inquiry into a 22 May Airbus A320 crash that killed 97 people at the southern port city of Karachi resulted in the revelation that 260 of 860 pilots in Pakistan had cheated during their exams, but were still given licences by the Civil Aviation Authority

The government has since fired five officials of the regulatory agency and criminal charges are being considered.

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