The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has suspended 27 pilots from Pakistan employed at Vietnamese carriers, a few days after PIA - Pakistan International Airlines grounded 150 of its 426 pilots on suspicions that they held fake licences.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Pakistan's aviation minister, later told his country's parliament that an investigation found that 262 out of 860 active pilots in the country "did not take the exam themselves" and had paid someone else to sit it on their behalf.

Foreign pilots recruited to work in Vietnam typically transfer the licence from the country where they were trained to a Vietnamese licence, requiring a CAAV testing procedure, the authority's general director, Đinh Việt Thắng, told the Vietnam News Agency.

"All of the suspended pilots are of Pakistani nationality and licensed in the country. These pilots are working at several airlines in Vietnam," he said. "The CAAV is currently awaiting the results of a review from the Pakistani aviation authorities to determine whether the pilots have used a fake licence or not."

Those who have legal certificates will be able to resume their careers again, he assured. Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể had asked the CAAV to conduct the review, the results of which must be reported to the ministry by July 31.

Vietnamese carriers currently employ 1,260 pilots, nearly half of whom hold foreign citizenship, according to the CAAV. The country has approved licences for 27 Pakistani pilots, and 12 of them are still active. The other 15 pilots' contracts have expired or are inactive due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the 12 active pilots, 11 fly for budget carrier VietJetAir (VJ, Hanoi) and one for Vietnam Airlines unit Jetstar Pacific (BL, Ho Chi Minh City), according to Reuters. VietJetAir stopped giving work to its Pakistani pilots when the licencing scandal broke, it said in a statement. In contrast, Vietnam Airlines said it did not currently employ any pilots from Pakistan.