Cabinet panel opens debate on outsourcing of major airports

Updated 05 Jun 2020

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Regulatory part of CAA and commercial part of operations discussed. — AFP/File
Regulatory part of CAA and commercial part of operations discussed. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The cabinet committee on outsourcing of major airports of the country on Thursday held its first meeting and directed stakeholders to come up with viable options in a week.

The committee, headed by its chairman Razak Dawood, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, asked the members to finalise proposals to be presented before the cabinet.

On the outsourcing of the airports, the government has constituted the cabinet committee to explore ways and means of opening of major airports for foreign investment.

It is believed that some investors are interested in making investment in the airports and the government is also now keen to open up this crucial sector for investors.

Regulatory part of CAA and commercial part of operations discussed

An official announcement issued after the meeting said the committee discussed two aspects of airport operations: the regulatory part of the Civil Aviation Authority and the commercial part of operations.

During the meeting, various options, along with the associated legal aspects, were discussed in detail, keeping in view the segregation of regulatory and commercial sides.

Representatives of the Privatisation Commission were also consulted on the issue.

Speaking on the occasion, the chairman of the committee, Mr Dawood, said that there was a huge potential in airport-related commercial activities, which could be exploited by bringing in knowledge and experience from major international experts in the aviation industry.

He further said that the gap in non-aeronautical activities at major airports, including duty-free shops, restaurants and commercial outlets, could be efficiently filled by such expertise, thereby bringing the country’s airports on a par with leading airports of the world.

Mr Dawood also informed the committee of the interest being shown by different global investors in the country’s airports.

He said that international best practices would be ensured in the overall operation and management of various activities by bringing in international investors and generating overall goodwill for the country among various stakeholders and the aviation industry around the world.

He said that foreign direct investment always acted as a catalyst to socio-economic development in the country, as it resulted in creating thousands of jobs.

He further said that the move would restore confidence of the private sector of the country and they would invest in the airport-related industry.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2020