ISLAMABAD: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has written to the Public Authority for Civil Aviation Oman that none of the CAA-issued pilot licenses were fake. This ran contrary to what Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had revealed last month.

“All Commercial Pilot Licenses and Airline Transport Pilot Licenses issued by Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority are genuine and validly issued,” CAA Director General Hassan Nasir Jamy said in the letter to his Omani counterpart.

In line with Government of Pakistan’s resolve on the accountability and reforms agenda, the Aviation Division and Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority have embarked on the drive to ensure safety and security of passengers and airlines operations. This is in sync with the vision of the prime minister to ensure transparency, merit and competence in all sectors of economy. Since assuming office, the prime minister has directed wide ranging reforms in the aviation sector (both at the regulatory and operational levels) with the aim to bring visible improvements in the system, the letter read.

It was in this context and to ensure maximum safety in air travel, when some concerns were raised about the validity of the licences of some pilots that the federal government immediately took notice and embarked upon the process of verifying the credentials of all licensed pilots through a forensic scrutiny. During this process, it occurred that there were discrepancies pertaining to the computer-based examination, which is one of the steps in the licensing process. Immediately upon completion of the process, the pilots falling in this category were treated as ‘suspects’ till clearance. They were taken off from flying duties, if any, and were grounded pending formal process, after providing them opportunity to explain their position, under the Pakistan Civil Aviation Rules, 1994. All this was done keeping in view the highest concerns about air safety all over the world, and also to ensure that questions raised in respect of an identified class of pilots does not prejudice hundreds of Pakistani pilots flying aircrafts most professionally and safely within and outside Pakistan.

The latter said all CPL/ ATPL Pilot licences issued by the CAA are genuine and validly issued. none of the pilot licences are fake, rather the matter has been misconstrued and incorrectly highlighted in the media / social media.

The CAA has already verified/ cleared 96 Pakistani pilots out of 104 names received from various civil aviation authorities/ foreign airlines (UAE / GACA, Vietnam Airlines, Bahrain Air, Civil Aviation Malaysia, Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department and Turkish Airlines). It is pertinent to highlight that “zero tolerance” shall be our policy in dealing with any confirmed case against whom legal process under the Pakistan Civil Aviation Rules, 1994 has been completed.

Mehtab Haider adds: Meanwhile, The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Wednesday that Pakistan has been assigned a Category 2 rating because it does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standards under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme.

According to statement issued from Washington DC under IASA, the FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, or participate in code-sharing arrangements with U.S. partner airlines. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority provides aviation safety oversight for Pakistan.

IASA assessments determine whether foreign civil aviation authorities comply with ICAO safety standards. ICAO is the technical agency for aviation under the United Nations. The organization establishes international standards and recommended safety practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

A category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards. This rating allows air carriers from that country to establish service to the United States and to carry the code of U.S. carriers through code sharing arrangements.

Air carriers from countries with Category 2 ratings are not allowed to initiate new service to the United States, are restricted to current levels of existing service to the United States, and are not permitted to carry the code of US carriers on any flights. Currently, no airlines operate regularly scheduled flights between Pakistan and the United States, the statement concluded.