The federal cabinet has approved the long pending revised National Aviation Policy (NAP) 2023 aimed at granting industry status to the aviation sector.
Sources said that the government under approved revised National Aviation Policy plans to provide a reduced taxation regime to attract investment in the sector that includes air service, airports, infrastructure development, flight catering services, aircraft manufacturing industry, maintenance and repair organizations, ground support equipment, and import of aircraft including aircraft engines, spare parts and supplies of all specifications.
The revised NAP 2023 proposed major amendments in the Safety Security and Regulatory Oversight, Air Traffic Rights, Guidelines on Air Service Operators, Aviation Infrastructure Development, and Guidelines for Allied Service Providers.
Under NAP 2023, the government has made mandatory registration of all aircraft owned or operated by air service operators on the Pakistan Aircraft Register.
Under the policy, conversion of aircraft from cargo to passenger operations shall not be allowed.
A request by an air service operator for variation in the induction or retirement criteria for an aircraft shall be evaluated by a technical committee constituted by DGCAA. The recommendations of the committee shall be subject to approval by the licensing authority. The government shall encourage brownfield airports through investment models in accordance with Pakistan’s investment Policy.
Furthermore, the government will also develop airports under Greenfield, at locations where no such facility already exists besides PCAA and PAA shall develop strategies to attract investment towards developing Greenfield and Brownfield airports.
In addition, the government under NAP 2023 will not only offer incentives to Aircraft Maintenance Organizations (AMOs) and Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MROs) in land lease and license but 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDl) shall be permitted by JV with local business entities.
Sources also said that the government has also permitted the induction of foreign-registered aircraft on wet lease under special circumstances including aircraft accident, maintenance, market evaluation, temporary expansion, and Hajj or Umrah or Ziarul operations.
However, the wet lease period shall be up to 120 days extendable to a maximum of 10 days starting from the induction date of aircraft.
As per details, the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) shall carry out investigations pertaining to aircraft incidents and accidents involving any civil aircraft operating in Pakistan.
If a Pakistan-registered aircraft encounters any incident or accident outside Pakistan, it may also be investigated by AAIB, on the authorization of the Ministry of Aviation, if requested by the state where the incident or accident has occurred.
The investigations will be completed within a specific time frame. Findings and recommendations of AAIB shall be shared with all stakeholders to help adopt a proactive approach to avoid future recurrence; implementation of these recommendations will be reviewed periodically by the Ministry of Aviation.
Under NAP 2023, the role of PCAA as a regulator shall be made independent of service provision with financial and administrative autonomy in line with ICAO requirements.
It is pertinent to note that PCAA’s operational segregation into Regulatory Authority and Airports Authority has already been achieved and the organizational structure shall be administratively segregated in accordance with the corresponding Act of Parliament.