Reckless and irresponsible minister: Regulation or piloting


Minister for Aviation presented PIA crash report in the national assembly for the information of the house and public in general. It was very important report as 97 precious lives were lost that could have been avoided if the pilot had observed proper landing parameters and instructions given by Air Traffic Controller. But the matter does not end here if the pilot was not following the instructions why ATC allowed landing of the aircraft he should have blocked the airport and forced pilot to follow proper landing procedures. This crash swept the country in gloom and sorrow that cannot be substituted by any amount of compensation to the bereaved families
It is good that crash report has been made public as per promise but it is equally very strange that a responsible person of the status of Minister for Aviation goes out of the text instead talking about the crash report most of the time he talked about fake degrees of pilots and irregularities in granting licenses to unqualified people. Let us sum up his statement he said (a) 262 pilots in the country did not take the exam themselves and had paid someone to sit in their behalf. This is not a case in isolation; our system of examination is such that students resort to open cheating in presence of invigilators and inspectors. In fact in some centres we find well organised cheating and therefore PIA candidates could not be an exception. (b) They don’t have flying experience. How on earth a pilot having no experience can fly an aircraft that too Air Bus? Our licensing system is not that bad that you pay two to three million and get the flying license, if it has happened the licensing authority should be hanged publicly. Pilot candidates can be given additional marks to clear the paper but under no circumstances he can get the license. (3) PIA has 860 active pilots serving its domestic airlines including PIA and he added that PIA has grounded all its pilots who hold fake licenses. That is good step but how many had fake licenses and were flying aircrafts no details have been furnished. Naturally no one can fly aircraft if he has not received requisite training, it is a long process of training that converts a pilot candidate into a pilot .This statement of minister by itself is confession of total negligence on the part of CAA as a regulator and licensing issuing authority and PIA to allow unqualified pilots to fly and risk safety of passengers and security of the aircraft. Zardari , Nawaz gone but from August 2018 till to date what is your contribution towards this most important industry
Question arises was minister of aviation waiting for this accident to happen and initiate action against pilots on the basis of fake licenses. What present CEO of PIA and past CEO’s were doing about it? Holding of fake degree and possession of fake license are two different issues. We do hear about fake driving license, fake NIC’s,fake degrees, fake medicines, fake domiciles, fake certificates,fake currency notes but how one can get fake flying license without training is just not understandable. A training pilot with fake degree can be selected for training as a pilot like other professions but how a trainee pilot without flying can manage to obtain flying license never heard of. His flying hours can be increased but has to fly the aircraft and there is no way out. This is very serious issue and it requires detailed investigations by a team of experts to be headed by FIA
As a matter of fact the minister should have restricted himself to the crash report only but by choosing to highlight pilots fake and dubious licenses and fake degrees at this stage is not understood. Was he waiting for the crash to take place and then highlight the issue of fake degrees and fake licenses? The manner in which this issue has been highlighted by the minister not only made international headlines and IATA has shown its concern but has brought bad name to the country, PIA as well and has damaged credibility of the country, deterred foreign investors, and made Pakistan a laughing stock in the world. As expected ICAO has also taken notice and it is feared we may not face total ban in the world. Minister’s statement is more than sufficient for ICAO to put ban on PIA flights and reduce it to domestic carrier.
If someone used unfair means in clearing papers by cheating from books or through someone assistance but it must be with the connivance but it has no role in flying. But, nobody could pass the flight simulator test without having enough flying experience, as in most of the cases all instructors are foreigners, all tests are fully documented and live recorded. Moreover flying license are valid for 6 months only and for renewal whole process is repeated.PIA spends millions of rupees in each pilot and they also have monitoring system of their own. If there is something wrong with the system who stops minister to rectify it, he should have done it instead making it world news to completely destroy the air line.
Was it necessary to do it at this stage when the air industry is in peril? If there were pilots with fake licenses there are other better ways to tackle the issue in any case it was most inappropriate occasion to defame the country as a whole.
Holding o matters f fake or dubious licenses are a different altogether it has nothing to do with the crash as even most experienced pilots at time commit mistakes. After selection( on fake degree) undergoes extensive training as per mandatory requirements and after flying Cessna, ATR’s is put on Air Bus after many years and having completed completing requisite hours goes through various tests and gets promoted and cleared to fly independantly.CAA has complete record of licenses as regulator and truth can be extracted. However, it may be mentioned that their degrees may be fake but holding of fake license appears to be a remote possibility and if this has happened deterrent punishment should be awarded.
There are certain things which are not talked in public due to national interest while doing so we should all remember anatomy of the human body is known to all of us but we still cover it. Mishandling of crash report is going to have very negative effect on Pakistan aviation and the sufferer will not be CAA and PIA that is already in ICU but our country . Large no of pilots and engineers are employed by various foreign airlines, after ministers disclosure of fake licences and degrees they all shall stand relieved with the passage of time. Kuwait Airline has grounded 7 pilots and 56 engineers, like wise Qatar and UAE have grounded PIA pilot’s, Vietnam has grounded our pilots, details from other airlines are awaited. The government thought they would score a point over previous governments corruption but in the bargain we may face harsh action from ICAO who do not compromise even on a small violation and we may face worldwide ban on national carrier.