Etihad audits Pakistan-licensed pilots amid cheating concerns

DUBAI: Etihad Airways is auditing its pilots with Pakistan-issued licenses, the Abu Dhabi airline said on Thursday.

Last month, Pakistan grounded 262 pilots amid suspicions they cheated on their examinations to operate aircraft, and the United Arab Emirates aviation regulator has said it was reviewing licenses issued in the country.

“We have worked closely with the (UAE) General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to verify the qualifications and licenses of the Pakistani pilots employed by Etihad,” an Etihad spokeswoman told Reuters.

“While we can confirm the authenticity of these pilots, we are however carrying out further precautionary due diligence with an additional audit.”

The GCAA in a statement released earlier on Thursday said it was reviewing its records to ensure no “suspicious licences issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority” had entered its system.

The GCAA said it was in contact with Pakistani authorities but did not indicate whether it had taken any preliminary action against pilots with licences issued in the country.

On Tuesday, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended two Pakistani airlines’ authorisation to fly to the bloc for six months.

A day earlier Vietnam announced that it was grounding all 12 Pakistani pilots working in the country.