Pakistan fires five officials over pilot licences scandal

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s aviation authorities on Friday fired five officials implicated in a scandal over licences obtained by pilots who had had others take their exams, the latest in shocking revelations following last month’s Airbus A320 crash in Karachi.

According to Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, the five sacked officials held senior positions at the Civil Aviation Authority. All were identified by name but Khan did not say what role they had allegedly played in the tainted licences scandal.

He also did not elaborate on any specific charges against them, but said that apart from removing the officials from their jobs, they could also face criminal charges. Khan said private airline companies had been asked not to allow pilots with faulty licences to fly their planes.

The scandal erupted this week when Khan said that 262 pilots working for the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, and three private airline companies had obtained their piloting licences through cheating and having others take exams for them.

Khan made the revelation on Wednesday in Parliament as he presented preliminary findings of the probe into the May 22 crash that killed 97 people, including all crew members.