More local airports opened for international airlines in new aviation policy

Karachi: New Aviation Policy 2015 aims at creating local job opportunities, boosts, exports and revenue generation for bringing Pakistan at par with international aviation standards. Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) will earn revenue either in shape of annual fee structure and through appropriate equity partnership models, says a release.

The Policy envisages that Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models would also be followed to improve revenue streams and quality of service. The airport’s terminal side may be outsourced to world class operators of international standing through transparent and competitive bidding. For this outsourcing appropriate consultants will be hired to ensure efficient and professional management of the landside of airports.

Despite the international trend where airports are privately owned like Far East, Europe and America which are privately owned, developed and operated by joint ventures of local and foreign companies, the airports in Pakistan would always be government owned and still remain the property of the government. Except those which are privately developed like Sialkot International Airport (SIAL). Even India has followed exactly the same pattern with all its international airports developed and operated by local and foreign companies including Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai.

Due to non-availability of international flights from state owned airline in cities like Quetta, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Turbat, it was posing difficulties for the local businessmen and overseas Pakistanis to travel from their hometown and conduct their businesses properly. Local export industry was also suffering subsequently as there was no available option to export perishable goods like fruits, vegetables and meat.

Allowing three to four international airlines to operate from these airports would ensure the availability of international fares at competitive price as well as boost local exports of perishable goods, thus improving both local economy and creation of jobs. Secondly, it would also facilitate passengers who could not travel abroad and help in human resource development.

Government owned airlines are no longer being protected as competition is fierce all over the world, may it be India, Saudi Arabia, Far East, Australia, Europe or United States of America.

New National Aviation Policy is developed in line with global and regional trends. All the relevant stakeholders were taken onboard as this policy seeks to facilitate passengers/ shippers, offer low prices and helps to create local jobs.

The allegation of PALPA General Secretary about New Aviation policy has not been put in its true perspective. Nothing has been sold, or will be sold. The allegations levelled by PALPA are unfounded and baseless. It is an attempt to gain political mileage and cheap popularity.

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