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July 19, 2019

CAA suffered Rs8.5 bn loss due to air space closure: minister

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July 19, 2019

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has suffered a loss of Rs 8.5 billion, owing to air space restrictions since February 2019 in the wake of aftermath India's Balakot attack.

The air space closure hit Indian aviation industry drastically harder as compared to Pakistan;, saying their losses running into almost double the amount.

“But at this juncture, détente is required from both sides,” he remarked. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday at CAA Headquarters he clarified the restructuring of CAA is purely on technical grounds and would infuse new momentum in the organization.

The recent bifurcation of CAA into regulatory roles vis-à-vis commercial and service provider roles would optimize the efficiency and performance. Ruling out any rightsizing in the PCAA due to bifurcation, he said it would spur growth in he national aviation and bring far reaching benefits.

Mentioning the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said it is our priority to revamp the PIA and increase its fleet to 45 planes by phasing out of 14 new aircraft by 2025. Sawar further said, earlier owing to open sky policy the domestic airlines could not expand operations.

Therefore, it has been replaced by Fair Sky Policy which offers equal opportunities to domestic air operators to grow their business. “All of the Air Services Agreements with various countries will be reviewed in the interest of Pakistan”, he added.

By pursuing New Aviation Policy 2019, he acknowledged the security agencies would be equipped with latest security equipment and scanners to maintain the international security standards.

The minister also expressed his pleasure on the resumption of British Airways flights and said many other international airlines are also approaching to start their operations in Pakistan. Initial security surveys are underway by various international airlines.

Responding to a question, he clarified there is no plan to shift the headquarters of CAA, PIA or ASF to Islamabad. However, he argued approximately 60% of the aviation related activities have already been shifted to northern part of Pakistan and accordingly more manpower may be deployed at the capital city.

To another question, he clarified that no airport is being handed over to Qatar, and the reports about that were speculative. Replying to question about the waiving of housing and landing charges on aircraft, he said it aims to ease-out the operational cost of airlines and to promote healthy competition.

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