No plans regarding sale of the Roosevelt Hotel: CEO

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: On October 20th, the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation held a meeting aimed to get a comprehensive and profound briefing by the Pakistan Intern-ational Airlines Company Limited (PIACL)’s Board of Directors. It is decided that in the next meeting on financial stability plan and future vision to convert the national flag-carrier into a profit-earning asset. The meeting was monitored by

Senator Mushahidullah Khan and attended by Se-nator Manzoor Kakar, Syed Muzafar, Shaheen Butt and Sajjad Turi, senior officials of Aviation Division and PIACL. He was briefed by the PIACL CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik on reports about closure of the airliner’s Roosevelt Hotel in New York, besides financial constraints and capacity issues of the airliner.

Air Marshal Arshad Malik rubbished the news regarding the closure of Roosevelt Hotel in New York. He made it clear that there are no plans regarding sale of the Roosevelt Hotel. The hotel will be closed down by December 31st for its renovation and future utility plans.

The PIA CEO added that the privatization commission had been approached through the federal government, which would hire a financial consultant thr-ough an international tender to devise a future cou-rse of action, considering all the available options.

Furthermore he clarified to the committee meeting that, “It would be decided later that whether necessary renovation or repair work would be carried out or the existing building will have to be demolished for reconstruction and raising a 100-storey hotel for which local bylaws are conducive.” Arshad Malik empathized that the PIA’s Roosevelt Hotel, a 19-storey building located at a prime location, was acquired in 1978 on the partnership, from its profits and as a part of PIA diversification strategy.

While talking about the past glorious years of PIA, Air Marshal Arshad Malik said that in 1999the hotel was acquired with 100 percent shareholding at $36.5 million from its resources and without any aid from the government.

The property had more than a thousand rooms, having an area of 43,313 square feet, adding it was run by the world’s premier Hotel Management Comp-any ‘Interstate Hotel and Resorts’ USA, he elaborated. While briefing the committee meeting he said that the current market value of the hotel, assessed by M/s Deloitte, was $662 million based on the highest and best use, the financial position was of the hotel had been in the ‘Red, ’ mainly due to debt servicing, unionization, dilapidated building, infrastructure, rooms and public area conditions, which needed immediate upgrade and major repairs in the life of severe weather conditions.

The committee also discussed the harassment case of PIA and listened to both the parties. In the meeting, Senator Sherry Rehman emphasized that the person accused of harassment was designated as HR Manager in PIA. She stressed that the perpetrator should be repatriated to its parent department with a recommendation to hold a fresh inquiry against the officer.

“It is a classic textbook case of harassment and the officer be removed from his post and sent back to its original organization,” she stressed.

In addition to this, Senator Nauman Wazir gave a suggestion that a special sitting of the committee members should be arranged to deeply look into the meeting. He added that, in this way another hearing can be given to the complainant and accused.

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