Following the outsourcing of the three major airports of Pakistan, the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) privatization and the shifting of its head office, from Karachi to Islamabad, is underway.
Considering the recent moves, the government has also introduced a Golden Handshake scheme for CAA employees.
Islamabad Head Office
Reports regarding the shifting of CAA head office from Karachi to Islamabad had been going around since 2014. At first the reports were deemed false, followed by a government announcement that CAA has to move its headquarters due to administrative issues. This was again postponed until now.
It is reported that CAA faces high communication and travelling costs and officials have to travel to Islamabad for meetings with the ministry of defense, regarding the development of New Islamabad Airport and other matters regarding aviation. By moving its head office to Islamabad, these costs can be cut.
Karachi’s law and order situation is also one of the reasons behind the move as foreigners often have issues when coming to Karachi.
CAA is one of the most profitable government institutions. Currently, the CAA earns revenues of over Rs. 50 billion annually and contributes billions to the national exchequer.
It should also be noted that at present, there are at least 7,000 employees are working for the CAA. About 1,600 of those work at the CAA head office. Income taxes, for all of these employees, are directly forwarded to the government like all other government departments, adding to the national treasury.
One of the challenges arising out of the CAA’s move to Islamabad is that the employees along with their families will be affected as well. The government will have to ensure that their transition from one city to another is as seamless as possible.
The Golden Handshake Scheme
According to the notification issued by the CAA, the Golden handshake scheme is only applicable to certain employees. Those who want to take advantage of the scheme must have completed at least 5 years of service and at most 25 years of service at the CAA.
The maximum age for the application to the Golden Handshake scheme is 58 years.
It should be mentioned here that similar handshake schemes in PTCL and PIA resulted in the loss of some very talented and experienced individuals which brought about the downfall of these organisations.
The decision to privatise and outsource the CAA was taken under the recent controversial Aviation Policy. The policy states that aside from the regulatory operations, all of CAA operations will be outsourced. Ads have already been published regarding CAA’s legal and HR consultancy.
The shifting of the head office to Islamabad has been controversial ever since it was first announced a couple of years ago. It is yet to be seen whether the high costs of shifting can be justified by the CAA and government officials.