Pakistan has upgraded its air navigation infrastructure: minister

Updated January 30, 2019

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Minister for Aviation and Privatisation Mohammadmian Soomro with delegates of the 27th meeting of steering committee of Coscap-SA in Islamabad on Tuesday. — APP
Minister for Aviation and Privatisation Mohammadmian Soomro with delegates of the 27th meeting of steering committee of Coscap-SA in Islamabad on Tuesday. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has upgraded its air navigation infrastructure and installed adequate communication, navigation and surveillance facilities for a strong and dependable air transport system, said Federal Minister for Aviation and Privatisation Mohammadmian Soomro on Tuesday.

Addressing the 27th Steering Committee Meeting of Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme – South Asia (Coscap-SA), the minister said Pakistan fully supports global policies and guidelines for a safe, efficient, sustainable and viable civil aviation.

He said the new Islamabad International Airport is the most modern Greenfield airport in the country and that some other international airports have recently been expanded or upgraded.

Mr Soomro added that the construction of the Gwadar International Airport will make the country’s air transport system stronger and will trigger economic growth in Pakistan.

Referring to the theme of the meeting, which was Together for Aviation Safety, the minister said he hoped the meeting will help foster sustained, peaceful and unifying ties among all member states in order to improve aviation safety.

Secretary Aviation Division and Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Director General retired Sqn Ldr Shahrukh Nusrat said Pakistan believes in sustained advancement in the field of civil aviation.

Says new Islamabad airport is the most modern Greenfield airport in the country

“Our efforts for sustained growth in civil aviation are evident from the revamping of our National Aviation Policy and the associated revitalisation of governmental role in regulations, the strengthening of the aviation safety and security practices, the liberalisation of market access and traffic rights for our bilateral partners and the pivotal modernisation of airports and aerodromes,” he said.

Mr Nusrat added that the civil aviation authorities are regulators but they should also be facilitators for the progression and sustainability of the aviation sector around the globe.

Coscap-SA chairman and Civil Aviation Authority Maldives Chief Executive Hussain Jaleel highlighted the efforts of the programme for promoting aviation safety and for meeting the professional proficiency requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

ICAO Regional Director for Asia Pacific Arun Mishra said a total of 4.3 billion passengers were carried by air transport on scheduled services in 2018 which indicates a 6.1pc increase from 2017.

He said over half of the world’s 1.4 billion tourists who travelled across international borders last year were transported by air and that air transport now carries 35pc of world trade by value. In this regard, he added, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region with an increase of 7.3pc.

Mr Mishra said aviation activities in South Asian countries have an average compliance level of 68.59pc, which is above the global average of 67.03pc.

“Owing to the dynamic growth of the air transport industry in South Asia, the entire global aviation community, with all stakeholders and partners, must pledge the highest level of commitment to face growth challenges to maximise the benefits of aviation,” he said.

However, he added, the South Asian region lacks qualified personnel in the aviation safety oversight system, which is one of the main obstacles in its healthy growth.

Coscap-SA is a cooperative programme under the aegis of ICAO of eight South Asian countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The core function of Coscap-SA is to build the capacity of its member states by providing training and technical assistance in the civil aviation sector.

The idea for Coscap was conceived in 1997 and Coscap-SA started working in 1998. It has completed four phases of five years each and it has now entered its fifth phase.

The Coscap-SA steering committee meets at least once a year in different member states.

The 27th meeting is being held in Islamabad from Jan 29 to Jan 31 and is being hosted by CAA.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2019