The Federal Minister for Railways and Aviation, Khawaja Saad Rafique, says that the government wants to improve major airports to meet international standards. He emphasized the significance of providing passengers with modern facilities to ensure their comfort and satisfaction.
In an interview with a private news channel, he explained that the government aims to increase the basic amenities offered at airports and railway stations while also generating more revenue for the department, ultimately achieving self-sufficiency.
The minister also announced plans to enhance security checks at railway stations. He stressed the government’s commitment to improving the performance of airport authorities and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) services, promising maximum facilities for passengers. He also mentioned a three-year contract signed with the New York City government to operate the Roosevelt Hotel owned by PIA in New York, USA.
Regarding airport operations, Rafique explained that the government plans to outsource three international airports – Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad – but emphasized that outsourcing does not mean privatization. Since no Pakistani company has the necessary expertise, the task of outsourcing the airports was given to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, a reputable organization with relevant experience.
Rafique also revealed that airport upgrades are already in progress, including the construction of Gwadar International Airport, which will soon be operational. In response to a question, he told that direct flights from Quetta airport to Makkah for Hajj pilgrims have begun, providing them with a convenient travel option.
Regarding railway safety, Rafique confirmed that the government is taking practical steps in collaboration with provincial governments to upgrade unmanned and vulnerable railway level crossings. These measures aim to improve safety and prevent accidents in the railway system.