Pakistan certifies the licenses of 166 pilots working abroad

Pakistan on Thursday certified the licenses of 166 pilots operating overseas with "suspicious" flying certificates, creating a global alert.

Pakistan's civil aviation ministry last month detained 262 pilots for "suspicious" qualifications, with preliminary reports of a plane crash in Karachi in May suggesting that pilots had failed to follow standard procedures and failed to ignore alarms.

97 passengers and crew were killed in the accident.

Pakistan has a total of 860 pilots, of whom 107 are working for foreign airlines, while 176 pilots have received requests from 10 countries for certification, a statement said on Thursday.

Of these, 166 have been certified "Genuine and Certified" by the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan (CAA) and the remaining 10 will be completed by next week.

The 10 countries where the pilots work include the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. It said it was giving recognition to the countries concerned.

Of the 262 grounded pilots, 28 pilot licenses have been revoked and another 76 are in the process of certification.

The scandal has suspended the authority of two Pakistani airlines to travel for six months due to a security failure by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (ISA).

Britain and the United States have also revoked landing rights for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and various global safety boards have downgraded the national carrier rating on aviation safety risks.

Many countries have deployed Pakistani pilots seeking recognition from Pakistan.

The Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA) said there were discrepancies in the list of pilots prepared by the government with licenses that were considered suspicious.

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