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'Fake' SAA pilot arrested

The SAA bedevilled
The SAA bedevilled

Police have confirmed that William Chandler - the senior pilot from South African Airways (SAA) who had flown commercial airplanes for more than 20 years with a fake licence - has been arrested.

National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said Chandler was arrested on Monday. He was charged with fraud‚ and appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court later that day.

He was released on R5‚000 bail. The case was remanded to May 15.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the carrier had opened the case after the airline "uncovered discrepancies relating to his ATPL licence [Airline Transport Pilot Licence] ".

"Whilst he is in possession of a valid CPL and could operate a commercial flight legally‚ he made false representations to the airline about his ATPL and worked for the airline longer than he ought to have been at SAA.

"Other pilots who did not have ATPL after five years of joining the airline as pilots had their employment terminated‚" Tlali told SowetanLIVE.

According to the Mail & Guardian newspaper‚ Chandler's long-held secret was revealed during an investigation into a "reportable incident" that had occurred during one of his recent flights.

"This was an act of dishonesty through which he sustained employment he was not entitled to.

"The airline suffered financial prejudice through his conduct‚" Tlali said.

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