Malaysia to reinstate Pakistani pilots if CAA verifies their licenses

Malaysia Airlines planes are seen on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 21, 2014. (AFP)
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Updated 07 July 2020

Malaysia to reinstate Pakistani pilots if CAA verifies their licenses

  • 20 Pakistani pilots in Malaysia were employed with ‘local operators’ such as flying schools, says regulator
  • They were suspended after Pakistani aviation minister’s announcement that a third of Pakistan’s pilots were suspected of dodging their exams

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.

Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

Updated 24 min 25 sec ago

Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

  • Islamabad’s PIMS hospital had less than 10 coronavirus patients before Eid Al-Adha but new patients coming in since
  • Pakistan announced on Thursday it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and infectious disease experts on Thursday warned of a possible surge in coronavirus cases due to a premature lifting of restrictions, as the government announced a day earlier that it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Pakistan shut schools and land borders nearly five months ago, decided to limit domestic and international flights and discouraged large gatherings to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But with infections and deaths down nearly 80 percent since their peak as per government records, the government decided on Thursday to lift the lockdowns to help the country return to normalcy.
Pakistan celebrated the Eid Al-Adha religious holiday last week. After the last major Islamic festival, of Eid Al-Fitr, in May, infections rose to their peak in Pakistan.
Dr. Nasim Akhtar, head of infectious diseases at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad, told Arab News the coronavirus ward at her hospital only had five to six patients before Eid, but new patients had once again started coming in.
“Cases registered a sharp increase after Eid Al-Fitr, and this can happen now again with the lifting of the lockdowns,” she said, adding that the government should have waited at least two more weeks to reopen restaurants and other public places.
“This is a bit early, and may worsen the situation again,” Akhtar said.
The World Health Organization has said “extreme vigilance” was needed as countries begin to exit from lockdowns, amid global concerns about a second wave of infections.
Germany earlier reported an acceleration in new coronavirus infections after it took early steps to ease its lockdown. South Korea, another country that had succeeded in limiting virus infections, saw a new outbreak.
“The next week is crucial to see if the infections soar as just one week has passed now since the Eid holidays,” Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, secretary-general of the Pakistan Medical Association, told Arab News.
Cases could also surge during the Islamic month of Muharram, which begins in late August, he said, and due to independence day celebrations on August 14. Huge crowds come out all over the world, including in Muslim-majority Pakistan, to commemorate the slaying of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).
“We think that the opening of all these things in a hurry ... probably this will create problems for us,” Sajjad said.
He said infections had risen sharply in the United States and Brazil after the nations lifted restrictions when cases initially declined. Spain reported 1,772 new coronavirus infections on Aug 6, marking the biggest jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June.
University of Health Sciences vice chancellor Javed Akram, however, called the reopening of public places a “wise decision.”
“The government cannot keep the cities and businesses under lockdown forever,” he said. “People should follow health guidelines to fight the virus.”