RAWALPINDI: Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar has announced that Pakistan will appeal against the restrictions of European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA).
“We will solve the safety issues raised by EASA and we had two months to appeal against the restrictions. PIA planes will fly in the European countries soon,” said the minister while talking to journalists here at the PTI regional public secretariat in Saddar on Saturday.
The EASA had temporarily suspended PIA’s authorisation to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months, effective from July 1, with the right to appeal against the decision, after the aviation minister declared in the National Assembly that the licences of 150 PIA pilots were dubious.
Mr Sarwar told the presser that the government was arranging charter planes for overseas Pakistanis in European countries. “Despite the restrictions, PIA flights are being operated for Canada,” he added.
Minister says charter flights being arranged for overseas Pakistanis in Europe
In reply to a question regarding his claim about the dubious credentials of the pilots, the minister said 28 pilots had been sacked, while a total of 219 pilots had been grounded and 191 suspended so far. He said those pilots were not recruited by the PTI government, which was making efforts to clean the mess created by previous governments. He vowed to restore the glory of the national flag carrier as the world’s best airline soon.
Amid the pandemic, not just the domestic air operations had been restored but also many concessions had been announced for the passengers with an increase in the luggage limit from 50kg to 73kg per passenger.
As part of Independence Day celebrations, the minister said, PIA announced 14 per cent discount for all travellers.
Talking about the ill-fated A-320 PIA aircraft crash in Karachi, the minister said the insurance amount for each passenger was Rs5 million but the government managed to get it increased while Rs1 million had already been paid to the heirs of each passenger.
Mr Sarwar also shared details of some social development projects for which the federal government had allocated Rs560 billion.
Rawalpindi’s ring road project
While calling the Rawalpindi’s ring road project as the biggest development project of the city, the aviation minister said Rs6bn had been allocated for acquisition of land for the project that would be initiated during the current financial year. He disclosed that the process of land acquisition would begin after the upcoming month of Muharram. He added that the project would be completed at a cost of Rs55 billion. He explained the 64-km-long road would connect Radio Pakistan, Rawat on G.T. Road with Margalla Road at Sangjani (N-5) via new Islamabad airport.
He said Rs500 million would be spent on a 60-bed hospital to be built on 96-kanal land in Jorian at Chakri.
The minister also recalled that over Rs160 billion financial assistance had been given to 13 million families during Covid-19 pandemic. He added that the country’s coronavirus situation improved due to the effective policies of the government. He expressed the hope all the businesses would reopen from August 10 and all things would soon become normal.
He also said he did not see any political change in Punjab and all the things would remain normal.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2020