Federal Minister for Aviation, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, has said that Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has suffered a loss of Rs 8.5 billion, owing to the airspace restrictions since February 2019 in the wake of the aftermath of Indian transgress.
However, this closure had an even greater impact on the Indian Aviation. He apprised that India’s loss is almost double. “But at this juncture of time, détente and harmony is required from both sides”, he remarked.
Speaking at a press conference held at CAA Headquarters, he clarified that the plan to restructure CAA is purely on technical grounds and would infuse new momentum in the organization. The recent bifurcation of CAA functions into regulatory roles vis-à-vis commercial/service provider roles is simply to optimize the efficiency and performance.
He ruled out any downsizing in PCAA due to bifurcation as it would spur growth in national aviation and fetch far-reaching benefits.
Mentioning the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said that it is our priority to revamp the PIA and increase its fleet to 45 by phasing-in 14 new aircraft by 2025.
He further said that, owing to open sky policies, our domestic airlines did not have space to expand their operations. Therefore, open sky policy has been switched to fair sky policy which offers equal opportunity to domestic air operators.
“In this regard, all of the Air Services Agreements (ASAs) with various countries will be reviewed in the interest of Pakistan”, he added.
In pursuing the New Aviation Policy 2019 (NAP 2019), he acknowledged that security agencies would be equipped with the latest security equipment and scanners to meet the international security standards.
The Minister also expressed his pleasure on the resumption of British Airways flights and said that many other international airlines are also approaching to start their operations in Pakistan.
Responding to a question, he clarified that there is no plan to shift CAA, PIA or ASF headquarters to Islamabad. However, he argued that approximately 60% of aviation-related activities have already been shifted to the northern part of Pakistan and accordingly more manpower may be deployed at the capital city.
In response to another question, he made it clear that no airport in Pakistan is being handed over to Qatar, and whatever has been reported on this matter was just speculations only.
Replying to question regarding the waiving-of housing and landing charges on aircraft he said that it aims to ease-out the operational cost of airlines and to promote healthy competition.