Nearly a quarter of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilots have been found not to hold valid licences.
An investigation following the Karachi air disaster in May, in which all passengers and crew lost their lives, revealed that 262 of 850 pilots had potentially fake licences or ones containing irregularities.
It was believed that many had not even taken the Pakistan regulator’s pilot qualification examination.
Some 150 pilots were suspended as investigations continue, according to a report by Forbes.
The Pakistan flag carrier has now been banned from operating in both the US and the UK.
The European Union Air Safety Agency (Easa) withdrew “third country operator” authorisation from PIA for six months from 1 July.
The letter from Easa to PIA read: “There are strong indications that a high number of Pakistani pilots’ licences are invalid.”
It added: “PIA persists in failing to demonstrate compliance with the applicable standards.”
On the same day, the US Department of Transportation suspended PIA from operating in the US.
PIA Airbus 320 was on a scheduled flight from Lahore to Karachi on 22 May when 97 passengers and crew died after a botched “go-around” that damaged the plane on its first attempt at landing.
The preliminary report found the captain and first officer disregarded standard procedures and ignored alarms.
Easa says the crash revealed “successive breaches of multiple layers of safety defences in the safety management system”.
PIA has suffered two other fatal events in the past six years. In 2014, one passenger died when an Airbus A310 from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia was struck by bullets on the approach to Peshawar in Pakistan.
In December 2016, a domestic flight from Chitral to Islamabad crashed on a hillside with the loss of all 47 passengers and crew on board.
The Independent has approached PIA for comment.
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