South African police have confirmed that William Chandler – a senior pilot from the South African Airways (SAA) who has allegedly flown commercial airplanes for more than 20 years with a fake licence – has been arrested for lacking a proper flying licence.
National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said Chandler was arrested on Monday, charged with fraud‚ and appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court (in Johannesburg) on the same day.
He was released on a US$357 bail after the case was remanded to 15 May, the police said.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the carrier had opened the case after the airline "uncovered discrepancies relating to his Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) licence.
"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 the SowetanLIVE online newspaper.
According to another publication, 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.