Shocking: 5 Pakistan International Airlines Pilots Flew Without Licenses

Simple Flying has learned that a number of pilots have been dismissed from Pakistan International Airlines for faking their academic achievements. PIA has a total of 498 pilots and 1,864 crew members. It is thought that up to 14 pilots and 73 members of cabin crew have faked degrees as part of their airline applications. So far a number of pilots have been sacked, while others have been fined for the activity which would be considered as gross misconduct in the UK. What is particularly alarming is that a number of pilots are not even qualified to drive a bus according to some sources.

PIA Pilots
Pakistan International Airlines reportedly hired 5 pilots who weren’t even qualified to drive a bus. Photo: Boeing

Who Is PIA?

Pakistan International Airlines are the flag carrier of Pakistan. With destinations in 20 countries, the airline’s fleet stretches from the ATR-42, all the way up to the Boeing B777. According to, the airline’s total fleet stretches to 33 aircraft. While not flying to the United States of America, the airline flies to 3 destinations in the United Kingdom. These include Birmingham, London, and Manchester.

Not Qualified To Drive A Bus

According to multiple sources, Simple Flying has learned that 5 PIA pilots had not even completed matriculation. This means that these individuals had not even completed high school. As such, they were not even qualified to drive a bus, let alone fly an aircraft according to the India Times. Despite this, the AFP reported that only three pilots had been dismissed for holding fake high school degrees. However, it appears that since this statement, six more pilots have been dismissed.

“The airline has dismissed from service its 50 staffers including three pilots for holding fake high school degrees.”

PIA Pilots
The airline identified that 5 pilots had not even completed high school.

The whole scandal has come to light following a lengthy court case in Pakistan. While the case started in the countries smaller courts, it made its way all the way to the Apex Court. The Express Tribune reports that the deputy attorney general said: “[the] national carrier has 498 pilots – out of whom 14 were found to be holding fake degrees while 73 out of 1,864 crew members were fake-degree holders. Disciplinary action has been taken against them”.

Why Is This Concerning

This incident is concerning as it means that unqualified pilots have been flying under the PIA name. It is not known which routes these pilots were flying, however, it is entirely possible that they could have been operating to the UK. The problem has reportedly been caused by universities refusing to validate degrees when requested by PIA. This is something that in the UK and US could likely see a job offer rescinded.

PIA Pilots
PIA operates to three destinations in the UK. Photo: Dale Coleman

This is alarming as without high school degrees, the pilots were not qualified for their position. As a pilot is the highest authority onboard the aircraft, it is rather alarming that such a high proportion has been dishonest with their employer. One can only imagine the potential fall out had a serious incident occurred following actions of one of the pilots identified, especially if this information had come to light following such an incident.

What do you make of the PIA pilot scandal? Let us know in the comments down below!