MIAMI – Pakistan International Airways (PK) has announced the suspension of approximately 150 pilots who hold “dubious” Pilots licenses in the fallout of flight PK8303.

Pakistan International Airlines has frequented headlines in the past few weeks due to the crash of flight PK8308 on May 22, 2020.

In the ensuing investigation, it was revealed that a large portion of the pilots at PK does not actually hold any valid airman certificates.

PHOTO: Hiro Nishikura

Flight Phonies


While it was a common rumor in the commercial aviation grapevine, this rather concerning bit of news was let into the light by Pakistan’s Aviation Minister himself, Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

He added that not only was this a problem at PK, but that around a third of all pilots in the entire country was not legally qualified to fly.

The flight crew of the A320 aircraft operating PK8303 was already in question, and this new development certainly does not help their case.

Additionally, this raises questions about pilots trained in Pakistan who are now flying for airlines in other countries, since Khan stated that many pilots pay others to take exams in their place.

PHOTO: Nick Van Der Hook

860 Pakistani Pilots minus 150


Mr. Khan stated that “The inquiry which was initiated in February 2019 showed that 262 Pilots did not take the exam themselves” and that they had asked someone else to sit the exam on their behalf.

He also said that they have found out during the investigation that Pilots with ‘fake’ licenses did not even have proper flying experience. The 40% of ‘fake’ pilots also include hundreds who are not currently active.

As of yesterday, there were currently 860 active Pilots in Pakistan. This includes PIA, Serene Air (ER), and Air Blue (PA).