June 29, 2020 / 4:23 AM / 12 days ago

Vietnam grounds Pakistani pilots over licence concerns

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam’s aviation authority said on Monday it had grounded all Pakistani pilots working for local airlines, amid concern from global regulators that some pilots may have been using “dubious” licences.

Pakistan said last week it will ground 262 airline pilots whose credentials may have been falsified, after global airlines body IATA said that irregularities found in pilot licences at Pakistan International Airlines represent a “serious lapse” in safety controls.

“The head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has ordered a suspension for all Pakistani pilots working for Vietnamese airlines,” the CAAV said in a statement on Monday.

The suspension will be in effect until further notice from CAAV, it said, adding that the authority is coordinating with Pakistani authorities to review the pilots’ profiles.

Vietnam had licensed 27 Pakistani pilots, and 12 of them were still active, while the other 15 pilots’ contracts had expired or were inactive due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the CAAV.

Of the 12 active pilots, 11 were working for budget airline VietJet Aviation and one for Jetstar Pacific, a unit of the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.

In a statement, VietJet said it had stopped assigning work to its Pakistani pilots as soon as news of the licence issue emerged and no pilots with Pakistan-issued licences were currently flying for the airline.

Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways were not using any pilots from Pakistan, the CAAV said.

Vietnamese airlines currently have 1,260 pilots, with nearly half of them holding foreign citizenship, according to the CAAV.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Ed Davies

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