Senate Committee Expresses Dissatisfaction with Aviation Services and Orders Revamp

Expressing concerns over the deteriorating condition of various airports in the country, the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation has directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to bring improvement in the aviation services and revamp the aviation system.

The Senate panel, which met at the Parliament House on Thursday with Senator Hidayat Ullah in the chair, discussed in detail the plight of airports with regard to the lack of proper services and facilities.

“The Aviation performance rate of Pakistan is 0.3 percent as compared to the world,” Senator Saleem Mandviwala regretted.

The committee brought under consideration the questions raised by Senator Naseebullah Bazai and Bahramand Khan Tangi regarding the details of postings and service group.

Secretary Aviation informed the members that the information pertaining to the previous service record of DG CAA needed to be obtained from the Establishment Division as the same was the competent forum for posting of PAS officers. He said the posting policies had been changed with the changing governments, adding that making policies and their enforcement was the federal government’s mandate.

The committee also deliberated on the matter of the transfer of 123-kanal and 16-marla land out of 4023 kanals and 1 marla to its co-owners taken by CAA for the construction of Islamabad International Airport.

The CAA authorities informed the committee that the request for exclusion of an area measuring 123 kanals and 16 marlas was accepted by CAA and, accordingly, Deputy Commissioner Rawalpindi was requested to move the case for surrendering land to the Board of Revenue Punjab. Later the IIAP was examined and re-evaluated by the concerned CAA’s functionaries, as the master plan of the Islamabad International Airport project had been revised due to a proposal of a third runway.

The committee was informed that the land was also essentially required for the smooth operation of an aircraft under the National Airfield Clearance Policy (NAFCP) criteria at the airport, so the request earlier made by CAA was withdrawn. As per the version of Estate Branch, the land in question has been mutated in the name of CAA on 17 September 1997. Moreover, the panel was told that CAA had submitted the compensation amount to Revenue Department for disbursement to the ex-landowners but the landowners had not yet received compensation.

The complainant submitted that the compensation should be given according to the land rate from the present date. To this, the Secretary Aviation said this did not fall under the purview of Aviation authorities, adding that it was the fault of the owner to have not collected money from the land accusation collector on time.

The Chair pointed out a letter on record by the Deputy Commissioner that no land requisition record had been found on the disputed land. He directed summoning the Senior Member Board of Revenue (SMBR) and Deputy Commissioner and sought details on the subject.

The committee underlined that the documentation should be duly observed and the construction should be stopped until the issue was resolved.

On the matter of improvement plans of the facilities for the passengers at all airports keeping in view the deteriorating condition at all airports was also discussed in detail. The committee expressed dissatisfaction that the conditions of the airports are not up to the mark and the washrooms equipment is malfunctioning.

The committee recommended constructing new washrooms and improving and expanding the ablution area.

CAA informed the committee that a new state-of-the-art international airport was being built in Gwadar with all the latest allied provisions to enhance passenger facilitation.

In a briefing on the air traffic control system’s work, the committee was informed of the existing VHF/EVHF infrastructure. It was told that it included Karachi: 200 NM, Hyderabad: 200 NM, Pasni 200 NM. The committee was also briefed on the induction process which includes sixteen years of education degree and class –III medical standard. Basic training on CATI -40 weeks extensive training (ICAO prescribed courses Deployment at OJT stations, for on Job training (KAR, LAH, and ISL).

The panel also discussed the radar basic training, nonradar approach training, and Air Navigation Plan 2019-2024 in the meeting. It was informed that phase-1 activation of ACC Islamabad was completed. It was told that the shifting of phase-2 of the Karachi Sector North to ACC Lahore, the establishment of Karachi Sector Center, and phase 3 of the establishment of Karachi terminal area control (130 NM around Karachi were in progress.

Senators Saleem Mandviwala, Afnan Ullah Khan, Aon Abbas, Bahramand Khan Tangi, Naseeb Ullah Bazai, and Fida Muhammad attended the meeting. Senior officials from CAA and its attached departments were also present in the meeting.