Senate Standing Committee on Aviation is dissatisfied with the operations and facilities at New Islamabad Airport. DG CAA was asked to improve services at the airport.
Senate Standing Committee on Aviation reviewed the National flag carrier’s performance at PIA head office Karachi on Wednesday. The meeting was chaired by Senator Mushahidullah Khan whereas Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Momin Khan Afridi and members of the committee also attended.
Federal Secretary Aviation Dr. Ijaz Munir, President, and CEO PIA Dr. Musharraf Rasool Cyan, Director General Civil Aviation G. Hassan Baig, Dy DG CAA Khawar Ghayas, Addl DG Metrological Deptt Dr. Muhammad Hanif, and Director Operations ASF Col Navaid were present to represent their respective organizations.
Secretary Aviation Dr. Ijaz Munir and DG CAA G. Hassan Baig faced hard questions by the senators regarding the facilities provided at New Islamabad Airport. The senators showed their anxiety over faulty services and passengers complaining about the New Islamabad Airport. They asked for more and better services at the new airport for the convenience of the passengers. They said many issues were witnessed at the airport which needed to be resolved at the earliest.
Senator Sherry Rehman asked for details of the agreements signed between CAA and other parties for the new airport as there seems to be a violation of PPRA. She asked to rename the new airport to Benazir Bhutto as it was its original name.
Senator Fida Muhammad asked for improvement in technical ground service. He also demanded to lift the night landing ban at Peshawar airport.
CEO PIA Musharraf Rasool Cyan give a multimedia presentation in which they claimed that under the airline rehabilitation program, improvements were made in various departments of PIA. The management is focusing on improving cash flow and reducing losses. He claimed that there was no significant increase in the administrative cost, it stands at around 20% compared to previous costs. He claimed that the airline fleet’s age has been improved by 16 years.
“PIA inducted several new aircraft in its fleet. Due to this, the airline at present has an average fleet age of 11 years, previously it was at 27 years. PIA advertised to obtain 5 aircraft on dry lease. 2 or 3 new aircraft will be inducted in the fleet before the end of 2018.” Musharraf added.
The CEO said that with the induction of new aircraft, PIA not only increased its flight frequency on existing routes, but it will also be able to open new destinations. The new airport at Islamabad will be used as an opportunity for expansion.
To improve ground services, PIA is heavily investing in its ground support equipment. PIA’s technical ground services (TGS) are going to acquire new equipment as the present equipment is old and obsolete.
Senator Sherry Rehman asked the management to improve flight meals and add variety in the menu.
Musharraf told the committee that PIA is working on consumer based flight cuisines and introduced new menus on selected routes. Similarly, the in-flight entertainment (IFE) and cabin improvement have also been planned, with wide-screen TVs and flat beds in business class.
Senator Mushahidullah Khan, who is an ex-employee of the PIA, said that there is an improvement in PIA’s performance, and its fleet has doubled as compared to five years ago. A reduction in losses has also been witnessed. However, there is still a need to expand further for the convenience of the public.
Members of the committee also discussed performance issues related to Airport Security Force and Metereological Department. Senator Mushahidullah said that the Metereological services need special attention and he requested the media to acknowledge its importance and should enhance its awareness as it is the lifeline of any nation. He said weather forecast has a direct impact on the economy of the country and there is an urgent need for lobbying at an international level.