South African Airways (SAA) is investigating after discovering one of its former pilots didn’t have a license.
William Chandler flew planes for the company for more than 20 years without a valid license, according to the Mail & Guardian.
Chandler was supposed to secure his airline transport pilot license (ATPL) within five years of being hired in 1994. Pilots applying for an ATPL are required to complete 1,500 hours of flight time and pass several exams, reports the BBC. They also must renew their credentials annually.
Instead of going through the ATPL process, Chandler forged paperwork to fool his employers.
The fraud was discovered after a “reportable incident” during a flight to Frankfurt, Germany. German authorities later confronted him.
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While the former South African Airways pilot does have a commercial flying license, he will face criminal charges. He has resigned from his post, reports Bloomberg.
“SAA has suffered actual financial prejudice and has opened a criminal case of fraud against that pilot,” South African Airways spokesperson Tlali Tlali said. “Necessary steps will be taken to recover the money unduly paid to him. These include salary, overtime and allowances.”
South African Airways is now working to ensure the rest of its pilots have legitimate credentials.
“Our view is that this is an isolated case,” Tlali said. “We are also conducting our own investigation in order to establish where the loopholes are and whether there is a need to introduce additional countermeasures.”
Twitter had much to say about Chandler’s ruse and his ability to get away with it for so long:
His name is William Chandler ( a white male). He is a FRAUDSTER, a CONMAN & a THIEF. He must #paybackthemoney. He stole from #taxpayers. He earned a salary & received benefits he was not entitled too. He must forfeit his pension, be prosecuted & seize his assets. Period. https://t.co/PdhoO0Nxpm— Sakhumzi Ngwevela (@SakhiNgwevela) March 1, 2019
This William Chandler, a fake pilot who worked as a Senior Pilot for more than 20 years at SAA. He has fraudulent license & he was discovered after a reportable incident. He is not arrested because he is white. Retweet if you agree it’s the case. pic.twitter.com/u6Dsv0VCJU— White Man Confession (@ConfessionWhite) March 1, 2019
If William Chandler was black...............— stan.news 🏳️🌈 (@stannews85) March 2, 2019
SAA senior pilot William Chandler duped the airline for 20yrs without being apprehended? It baffles logic how this fake pilot got away for so long! Another case which proves being white & male(privilege) is a presumption of competence vs being black = presumption of incompetence?— Nape Wa Ngwato (@Mmeshi_Kgaphola) March 1, 2019
White Privilege— The_Apache (@vuyombebe) March 1, 2019
SAA forces William Chandler👇🏽 to resign after 20 years of flying with fraudulent paperwork. Pilots earn between R900 00 a year - R6m.
Tlali said the airline was calculating, with a view to recovering, remuneration Chandler had earned as a result of his fraud pic.twitter.com/54QMhHFVTg
An investigation is underway, and the airline hopes to recover “millions of rand” (several hundred thousand dollars) in damages.
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