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Pilots licensing likely to resume in February


Mar 14, 2017
United Kingdom
The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) hopes it can resume licensing pilots in February next year with the release of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) report of an audit under Universal Safety Audit Oversight Programme (USOAP).

PCAA Director General Khaqan Murtaza told a press conference in Karachi on Monday that a team of eight professional auditors lead by Director Safety Oversight at the Montreal-based UN aviation agency conducted the audit which concluded on Friday.

The audit was conducted in six areas: airworthiness, flight standards, personnel licencing, aerodrome and airspace standards, aircraft accident, human resources (HR) and legal, Murtaza said. The auditors evaluated CAA response to about 700 protocol questions and verified all the supporting evidences.

The ICAO auditors appreciated the preparation and hard work of PCAA team,” Khaqan Murtaza said. “We are hopeful we will resume issuance of licensing following the release of release of the ICAO audit report expected in February,” he added.

“They found PCAA compliant with ICAO regulations and strongly hoped that the ban in place on examination and issuance of licences end soon. The final report is awaited to be issued from Montreal by mid-February,” Murtaza said.

The pilot licence scandal tainted the country’s aviation industry and hurt flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), following an air crash in May 2020, in which 97 people were killed. A month later, the government grounded 262 airline pilots suspected of dodging their exams.

In September, ICAO advised Pakistan to undertake immediate corrective action and suspend the issue of any new pilot licences. This month, the ICAO team visited Pakistan aeronautical complex, PIA offices and offices of other airlines during the audit.

“The situation is that they have cleared us but a final report is awaited. The report is expected any time after mid-February,” Murtaza said, expressing the hope that the PCAA would be able to resume examination and issuing licences after the release of the audit report.

“This safety audit by ICAO team between November 29 to December 10, has been conducted after 11 years. The outcome was very positive and will soon have effects on Pakistani operators planning to operate flights to UK and Europe,” he added.

Responding to a question about the agreement signed with Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority International (CAAi) to conduct e-exams for aircrew, a PCAA official explained that these examinations were expected to start by end of February.

The fee for appearing in the exams was set at £90 per paper for the first year and £95 per paper for the second year. However, Murtaza said that the PCAA would subsidise the fee for candidates by contributing 75% of the fee on the first attempt and 25% on second attempt.


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