ISLAMABAD: Renowned airport operators from around the world have expressed their interest in bidding for the management of the Islamabad International Airport.

The development came to light during an online meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday. The meeting, which was attended by Pakistani envoys, reviewed market-sounding efforts for outsourcing airports through Pakistan’s diplomatic missions.

According to a press release, Aviation Secretary Saif Anjum, who is also the director general of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), reported positive feedback from Pakistani missions in countries such as Turkiye, Malaysia, the UAE, Qatar, France, Spain, Germany, Kuwait, the UK, and Switzerland.

These efforts have led to a reinvigorated interest among top-tier airport operators, the press release said.

Operators of foreign airports, it said, “had shown positive interests in the bidding of the Isla­mabad International Airport”.

The meeting was followed by the 9th steering committee session on airport outsourcing, which was attended by key government officials, including the secretary of law and justice, the additional secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and heads of various federal agencies.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) also presented a progress review report, noting a keen interest and expected healthy competition among foreign investors for the Islamabad airport project.

During the session, the forum reviewed key performance indicators and service delivery benchmarks established by international consultants to enhance the quality of services at airports across Pakistan.

The government agency heads committed to observing these benchmarks to ensure a seamless passenger experience.

Mr Dar stressed the importance of expediting the outsourcing processes for Lahore and Karachi airports within the stipulated time frames, underlining the government’s commitment to enhancing economic diplomacy and strengthening trade and investment ties with other nations.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2024

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