RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) infor­med the National Assem­bly Standing Committee on Aviation on Thursday that the government has started a process to outsource the management and operations of the airports in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore.

The meeting, presided over by Syed Mobeen Ahmed, was told that the decision had been taken to boost foreign exchange reserves.

The committee made it clear and was informed accordingly that PCCA was not selling the airports as only the operation and management controls were being outsourced.

PCAA Director General Khaqan Murtaza apprised the committee that after the amendment in rule 68 of the CAA Act, the authority to issue no-objection certificates was taken away from the PCAA and given to the building control authorities, which had completely failed in doing the job. The committee recommended an amendment to the said rule, asking for action against illegal constructions.

He added that the bird strike cases have increased due to which flight operations have been stopped at 6-8am at the Lahore airport and a bird repellent system was enhanced in addition to awareness campaigns by the authority.

A committee member pointed out the incident of a PIA air hostess’s death over which the PIA’s CEO said the accident happened due to the “unsafe motorway”. In this incident, a boy jumped over the barrier and came in front of the vehicle due to which the accident occurred.

He added that PIA’s financial condition cannot bear much expenses so they have hired a contractor for the transport purpose.

The member also mentioned the increase in the tax percentage of pilots from 7.5 per cent to 32pc. The CEO assured that they have solved this matter by increasing the salary of pilots and most of the staff was happy with the decision.

The committee asked the PCAA’s director general about the complaint system at the airports. The DG replied that they have placed complaint boxes at multiple locations at airports and the complaints were taken very seriously.

The meeting was attended by Romina Khurshid Alam, Shahnaz Saleem Malik, Dr Darshan, Ramesh Lal, and Saira Bano. Senior officers of the Ministry of Aviation, PCAA, PIA, and Aircraft Accident Investigation Board were also present.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2023

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