Here’s everything you need to know about pilot licenses

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) being regulator is the only commercial pilots’ licenses issuing authority in Pakistan.

As per details, there is a full 80 pages CAA Air navigation order which deals with the issuance of all the commercial licenses. Airlines have no role in the issuance of commercial licenses.

On induction, a valid commercial license by CAA, CPL for First officer and ATPL for Captain is the requirement. For serving airline pilots, commercial licenses after reaching their validity periods are sent to CAA by airlines for renewal, which when renewed by CAA verify their authenticity as well.

The licenses annotated in the suspected list provided by CAA have been issued by CAA but there is suspicion of unfair means in the conduct of papers required for those licenses. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) as an operator has nothing to do with the conduct of these papers.

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Minimum qualifications for a CPL holder are:

  • Educational Qualification of at least Higher Secondary School Certificate or Equivalent.
  • Valid Medical Certificate (At least Class 1) by CAA
  • 12 papers conducted by CAA (out of question bank of around 30,000 questions with passing marks of 70%)
  • Flying experience of 200 hours


 Ground school

  • At least 1-2 months of ground schooling by the airline on system knowledge of the aircraft
  • Monitored by the PCAA inspectors from time to time.

PCAA courses

After ground schooling, the pilot has to undergo CAA courses as per ICAO syllabus which includes

  • DGR (dangerous goods regulations)
  • CRM (crew resource management)
  • Fire drill
  • Wet drill (ditching practice)
  • Safety emergency procedures (SEP)
  • Safety management system (SMS)
  • Performance of aircraft

These are a few major courses which are must by CAA so every airline conducts these courses on a yearly or quarterly basis.

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  • Airline spends at least 4 to 5 million per pilot from its own reserves to train the pilot from abroad on different types of simulators.

Line Training

  • After clearing the simulator assessment, a pilot starts line training on the aircraft
  • Local instructors of the particular airlines who are cleared by the regulatory body after certain checks, carry out their line training
  • At least 100 to 150 hours are given to a pilot and he is assessed on every flight by a captain, a TRI (type-rated instructor) or a TRE (type-rated examiner)
  • The process continues till he reaches his line check/route check

Line check

  • A line check is again assessed by an airline examiner and a CAA examiner.
  • If the pilot qualifies, he is declared as a first officer on that particular aircraft.
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Airline transport pilot license (ATPL) is required to become a captain on that aircraft.

  • 8 papers conducted by CAA (out of larger question bank with passing marks of 70%)
  • Valid Medical Certificate (At least Class 1) by CAA
  • Simulator assessment
  • Line training
  • Final check. At every stage, a pilot goes through many checks and procedures.

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