A South African Airways pilot resigned and now faces criminal charges after the airline discovered he lied about having the correct type of pilot’s license to operate international flights.
According to the airline, the pilot claimed to have an Airline Transport Pilot License, which all SAA pilots are required to obtain within five years of getting hired. In reality, he possessed a Commercial Pilot License, the airline said, which allows pilots to operate commercial flights, but not long, international flights.
“SAA has suffered actual financial prejudice and has opened a criminal case of fraud against that pilot. Necessary steps will be taken to recover the money unduly paid to him,” SAA representative Tlali Tlali said in a statement.
SAA discovered the license situation after investigating a reported issue with turbulence on a flight over the Swiss Alps. The airline’s policy is to assess and re-evaluate crew members involved in a reported incident, during which it noticed “a Senior First Officer who had operated that flight had made false representations to the airline and claimed that he was qualified and had an Airline Transport Pilot License.”
“We take note that at no point did the alleged fraudulent license present any safety risk to SAA’s operation as the pilot in question was in possession of a valid Commercial Pilot License and was the monitoring pilot and not the commander of the aircraft,” Tlali added. “The pilot had successfully completed all required safety training. However, we find it disconcerting that misrepresentations were made about the type of license that the pilot claimed to possess.”
In response to the controversy, SAA has launched an audit with the South African Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that all pilot’s licensing files are accurate and up-to-date. It also introduced a new rule that it will directly obtain pilots’ ATPL test results from the Aviation Authority, rather than allowing pilots to turn in certificates themselves.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2019/03/05/south-african-airways-pilot-resigns-after-his-license-deemed-fake/3065818002/