ISLAMABAD (APP): Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed Friday informed the Senate that Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had planned to expand the passenger terminal building at Allama lqbal international airport, Lahore.
During question hour in the House, the minister said the estimated cost of the expansion project was Rs 43.6 billion and PC-I, had been approved by CAA Board which was fully empowered to approve projects financed by CAA out of its own resources with involvement of foreign exchange component less than 25% of project cost. Sheikh Aftab said the financing of the project was being made by the CAA through internal and external sources.
To a question, the minister said that only airport services were being considered for outsourcing whereas Air Navigation Services would be provided by CAA. To elaborate further when aircraft starts up and taxi out, it was under provision of Air Navigation Services (ANS), whereas, when it was on parking stand it was under provision of airport services, he added. The minister said on ground most of the services were under domain of airport services whereas in air they were under the domain of ANS.
Reserved activities comprising custom, immigration, security, health, meteorology, plant and animal quarantine, CNS/ATM services and other statutory or sovereign functions would not be outsourced. No company with name of Royal International Services was doing business with PCAA (commercial concessions) he said, adding however, M/s Royal Airport Services (Pvt.) Ltd. was presently providing ground handling services at CAA airports.
To a another question, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said that it was a fact that PIA had been converted into a public limited company as per PIAC Conversion Act 2016 after its promulgation on April 19, 2016. He said that presently PIA had 35 aircraft in its fleet and currently 14,317 permanent employees were working in national flag carrier.
The minister said the government took several steps to control the losses of the airline including appointment of Dubai Islamic Bank by Privatization Commission as financial advisor for restructuring of the balance sheet and devising the future course of action for settling loans whereby modalities would be submitted by them. Sheikh Aftab said the path of fleet modernization the company was in the process of acquiring more fuel efficient aircraft for replacing old fleet.
The company was exploring various revenue enhancing strategies by adding new destinations on the network, increasing frequencies and entering into code shares and Special Prorate Agreements (SPAs) with other airlines besides expansion of sales network, he added. He said the cargo business was being improved by entering into a block space agreement on western routes. Schedule reliability, food quality and passenger handling services are being improved to enhance corporate image in public eyes for increasing number of passengers. To question, he said there was no proposal under consideration of the government to purchase new aircraft for PIACL. However, PIACL had invited bids to acquire aircraft on lease, he added.
Sheikh Aftab said that PIACL had not purchased any aeroplanes during the last five years. However, 19 aircraft on dry lease and five on wet lease have been acquired during the last 5 years. The minister said the acquisition of aircraft on lease was made strictly in accordance with PPRA Rules 2004.