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Pakistan International Airlines To Ground Pilots Over 'Dubious' Licenses

The wreckage of the PIA Airbus A320 that crashed in Karachi on May 22.
The wreckage of the PIA Airbus A320 that crashed in Karachi on May 22.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) says it will ground nearly 150 of its 426 pilots following a government investigation that found they hold "dubious" pilot licenses.

The company's decision was announced on June 25 after an initial inquiry into a recent PIA plane crash was presented to parliament by Pakistani Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

Khan's report to parliament also highlighted irregularities at PIA, the country's national air carrier.

He told lawmakers in Islamabad that a separate investigation had revealed hundreds of Pakistani pilots -- working for Pakistani airlines as well as some foreign companies -- obtained their pilot licenses by cheating and had been fraudulently credentialed.

A PIA Airbus A320 crashed on May 22 in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, killing 97 of the 99 people aboard.

A 13-year-old girl from the residential neighborhood near Jinnah International Airport where the plane crashed was critically injured and later died in a hospital.

An initial investigation by Pakistani authorities concluded that the crash was the result of "engine failure."

But Khan told parliament that previously unconfirmed details had revealed the cause of the crash was "pilot error."

He said the pilots were chatting about coronavirus and not paying attention during an initial failed attempt to land on May 22.

He said the plane's engines apparently scraped the runway during that failed attempt, causing significant damage.

Both of the plane's engines failed as the aircraft approached Jinnah International Airport for another attempt to land.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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