RAWALPINDI: The Aircraft Owners and Operators Association (AOOA) of Pakistan has condemned the government’s decision to outsource operations and land assets at three major airports to the Inter­national Finance Corpora­tion (IFC) — the private sector arm of the World Bank Group — without following the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules.

The association in a statement issued here on Friday claimed that all the proceedings of outsourcing had been kept ‘secret’, thus making the whole process ‘doubtful and dubious’.

No country outsources its money-making assets such as airports to a third country (Qatar) that does not run even its own airport and has outsourced it to a Singaporean company, being run by Indians, according to the AOOA press release.

Just last year Pakistani airports generated about Rs90 billion, it said, while over the next 30 years, the airports had a potential of generating more than Rs2,700bn. Yet “we are outsourcing them for Rs850bn,” it said, adding that the AOOA-Pakistan would serve a legal notice to the government of Pakistan and the IFC, the World Bank, for malpractice and dodging law of the land.

The government on March 30 had kicked off the outsourcing of operations and land assets at three major airports to be run through a public-private partnership with a foreign country to generate foreign exchange reserves.

Meanwhile, an emergency meeting of the Officers Association and Joint Employees Union of civil aviation was held under the chair of Zareen Gul Durrani at Civil Aviation Authority Headquarters, Karachi, where serious concern was expressed over the government move to outsource the three airports.

The participants in the meeting declared that outsourcing would create problems for the CAA in particular and the country in general. They requested all civil aviation employees to organise protests, contact parliamentarians and appealed to President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial, and Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir to halt the move.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2023

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