The government has officially leased the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City to the New York City (NYC) Administration for three years at a cost of $220 million.
According to Federal Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique, a contract has been inked between Islamabad and the NYC administration. “Under this contract, we will receive US $220m that will enable us to clear the hotel’s various liabilities besides earning handsome revenue for our country’s treasury,” the minister told reporters on Sunday.
The minister said the fresh deal spares the hotel from being landmarked and allows the lessee (NYC administration) access to utilize up to 40 stories of the building with a change of business.
He shared more details, saying that the lease term contained a one-and-a-half year of guaranteed salary. The custody of 600 of the hotel’s 1,025 rooms had been given over to NYC recently, and the other 425 rooms will be handed over in the next 30 days. According to the contract, hotel rates would be $202 in the first year, followed by $205 in the second year, and $210 in the third year.
The hotel, which is around 100 years old, will be given back to Pakistan in the same condition as it is now after three years.
According to the aviation minister, the deal cleared the government of the responsibilities of 479 employees since under the terms of the agreement, only 77 individuals would work and the rest (402) would be laid off.
Talking about other developments, the minister said the Aviation Ministry had decided to outsource the operation of the country’s three major airports in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore.
Due to high operating expenses, rising fuel prices, and mishandling of cash, Pakistan’s aviation has suffered financial challenges in recent years. The sector has come under fire for failing to meet international safety standards, resulting in temporary bans and limitations on Pakistani airlines in a number of countries.
The government’s decision to outsource three major airports and lease out its Roosevelt Hotel to NYC is a big step to offset issues and operational losses incurred by the aviation sector.