We’ve heard plenty about airline pilots getting into strife for drinking on the job, getting sacked for having a fear of flying, and cabin crew being fired for romantic proposals. But what about faking degrees to get a job?
Last week we told you about how a number of pilots and up to 50 staffers were being dismissed or fined at Pakistan International Airlines for falsifying qualifications. Well, today Pakistan International Airlines has been forced to fire more than 70 more employees for using fake qualifications to get their jobs.
The debt laden airline has cancelled pilot and flight attendant licenses after it was revealed many had used bogus degrees in order to secure their jobs. So far, 16 pilots and 65 cabin crew have had their licenses suspended; further verification of qualifications are ongoing.
After the incident last week when 50 employees were dismissed, including three pilots, for the same issue, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) stepped in. Demanding that details of all pilots and cabin crew were sent to them, they began investigating every qualification, and found out that the problem ran a lot deeper than first thought.
A lawyer for the CAA, appearing at Pakistan’s Supreme Court, said that:
“Degrees of 16 pilots and 65 cabin crew members were fake and their licenses have been suspended,”
Out of their 4,321 employees, around 402 remain to be verified, although the CAA has said most are already though to be genuine. Six foreign acquired degrees held by pilots for PIA are still being checked out.
Employees will appeal
Some of the employees are unhappy with the decision to terminate their services. One pilot in particular told the court he was hired on his FSc degree, which he does indeed hold. However, because he (allegedly) faked a separate BSc degree, he has been sacked.
The courts urged PIA not to make decisions in haste and under pressure. Justice Nisar, presiding over the case, commented:
The impression is that action is being taken in haste over the court order… we do not want to halt anyone’s source of income but will not allow anyone to continue his work with fake academic degrees.”
The court has stated that any fake degree holders ‘do not deserve any show of compassion’.
The rapid demise of PIA
Once considered a global leader in commercial aviation, Pakistan International Airlines have been plagued with controversies over recent years. The carrier is burdened by billions of dollars of debt and has had a string of almost unbelievable bad PR over the past few years.
In 2016, a Dubai bound flight ended in carnage, when several employees were found to be smuggling drugs. Anti-narcotic officers seized the drugs and placed an undisclosed number of employees in custody as a result.
Following a lethal air crash also in 2016, where all 48 people on board were killed PIA hit the headlines again for a bizarre reason. The airline had decided to slaughter a goat next to their ATR-42 aircraft, which was about to leave on a domestic trip. In Pakistan, killing a black goat is supposed to ward off evil, but the international press, as you can imagine, thought it was ridiculous.
In the UK, a pilot about to take off for Islamabad from Leeds was arrested due to being drunk in charge. The incident, in 2013, saw Irfan Faiz jailed in Britain for nine years. And just last year, the airline ‘forgot’ to pick up two corpses which were to be flown from JFK to Lahore for burial.
2019 isn’t shaping up too well for the carrier either. Aside of this latest debacle, PIA have been widely criticized for telling female cabin crew to lose weight earlier this week. They said, “Any crew found above 30lbs from the desired weight after 31 January 2019 will be grounded”.