All Pakistani pilots working for Vietnamese airlines have valid and legitimate licences and none have been involved in a flight incident or safety threat, the government said on Saturday.

Vietnam last month grounded all Pakistani pilots working for local airlines amid concern from global regulators that some pilots may have been using dubious licences.

“All licences administered by the Pakistani aviation regulator are legitimate and valid. There are no fake licences, as mentioned by the media,” a government statement said, citing a note from the Pakistani embassy to the Vietnamese government.

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

The issue of ‘dubious’ licences drew global attention after Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan revealed in the National Assembly that there were 860 active pilots in the country and 260 pilots had not sat their exams themselves and almost 40 per cent of the pilots had fake or improper licences and did not have flying experience.

After the aviation crisis emerged, the civil aviation authorities of different countries including Malaysia, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar formally contacted Pakistan to verify if the commercial pilot licences (CPL)/airline transport pilot licences (ATPL) issued by the CAA are genuine and validly issued.

Some countries expressed concern over the pilot licencing issue and asked Pakistani authorities to inform them what measures had been taken to ensure all civilian pilots are properly licensed and trained according to ICAO regulations.

Last week, the Aviation Division had cleared 95 per cent licences of Pakistani pilots serving in different airlines in seven countries and said that the process of verification of the remaining would be completed this week.