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A Pakistan International Airlines turboprop passenger plane prepares for take off. Photo: EPA

Pakistan national airline fires pilots and 47 others for fake school degrees

  • The three former Pakistan International Airlines pilots were among 50 employees who lost their jobs for holding fraudulent high school degrees

Pakistan’s national flag carrier has fired 50 employees, including three pilots, for holding fake high school degrees in the latest embarrassing mishap to hit the troubled airline.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which was considered a global leader in commercial aviation until the 1970s, has been plagued by myriad controversies in recent years and is saddled with billions of dollars of debt.

A Pakistan International Airlines at new Islamabad International Airport. Photo: Xinhua

PIA spokesman Mashood Tajwar confirmed the sackings and said at least six additional pilots had been fired recently on the same grounds.

The airline has cancelled the pilots’ licences, he added, without specifying what the other PIA staff who were sacked did for the airline.

PIA was widely mocked in 2016 for sacrificing a goat next to a turboprop ATR plane to ward off bad luck, weeks after one of its planes crashed killing 47 people in one of Pakistan’s worst air disasters.

Last year it had to apologise after forgetting two corpses due to be transferred to Pakistan from New York.

And in 2013 one of its pilots was jailed in Britain for being drunk before he was due to fly from the English city of Leeds to Islamabad with 156 people on board.

PIA employees have also been periodically investigated for drug-smuggling, especially after drugs were seized from a Dubai-bound flight in 2016.