KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s aviation regulator will reinstate Pakistani pilots as soon Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) authenticates their licenses, an official told Arab News on Monday.
“The CAAM has sent two letters requesting verification from PCAA as well as to inform them on the temporary suspension of Pakistani license holders in Malaysia,” CAAM public relations officer Nurilya Anis Rahim said in an email response to Arab News.
Last week, CAAM chief Capt. Chester Voo said that 20 Pakistani pilots in Malaysia who were employed with “local operators” such as flying schools, flying clubs and training organizations would be temporarily suspended.
The move followed Pakistani aviation minister’s announcement of the grounding of 262 airline pilots suspected of dodging their exams.
“We are currently still waiting for a response from PCAA. Once an official confirmation has been made, we will reinstate these pilots with immediate effect,” Rahim said.
Rahim told Arab News that the decision was taken to ensure the safety and security of Malaysia’s aviation industry.
“Malaysia has always taken a conservative stance which includes a zero-compromise on the integrity of certification and qualification of pilots,” Rizal Kamaruzzaman, a Malaysian aviation expert and executive director of Tindakan Strategi, told Arab News.
He added that the “joint verification” would be an excellent opportunity for regulators in both Pakistan and Malaysia to “clean” the register and weed out all pilots with dubious qualifications.
“The move by the CAAM will also alert the rest of the airlines and general aviation aircraft to review the technical crew manifest flying into Malaysia, and will definitely have a ripple effect on the aviation sector. The trust and mutual recognition among regulators are a sacred pact to ensure safety for aircraft, pilots, crews, engineers, and especially the passengers,” he said.
Pakistan has 860 pilots, 107 of whom work for foreign airlines.
Besides Malaysia, also Vietnam, UK and UAE have also grounded Pakistan pilots and are seeking to verify their credentials.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has also suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ authorization to fly to the bloc for six months.