Thursday December 02, 2021

LHC allows flying at Walton Airport for eight weeks

July 10, 2021

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday allowed flying clubs to continue to operate at Walton Airport initially for eight weeks, after which the court will review alternate arrangements made by Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority and allow any extension if required.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi was hearing several petitions against taking over of the airport by the Punjab government and hindrance in the lawful business of Lahore Flying Club.

The judge asked a counsel for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) how long it would take to set up an alternative venue for Walton Airport. The counsel said it would take eight to 22 weeks for shifting the infrastructure to a new place. At this, Justice Najafi directed the CAA that all flying activities be restored for a minimum period of eight weeks, after which, the court would see if the alternative provided was suitable or not.

The judge would resume further hearing on Sept 9. The petitions were filed by Lahore Flying Club and flight instructors at Walton Airport and others.

The petitioners contended that the government promulgated Lahore Central Business District Development Authority Ordinance, 2021, on Feb 4 in violation of the due process of law to close down abruptly the operations of the flying club.

They said the club’s predecessor, Northern India Flying Club, was duly incorporated in 1932 under the Indian Companies Act, 1913 (current regime is Companies Ordinance, 1984). However, after the Partition, the name of Northern India Flying Club was changed to Lahore Flying Club in 1954.

The petitioners submitted that Walton Airport was also an ideal location for air ambulances in case of any emergency or disaster in the province and within a few minutes travel to major hospitals in Lahore and any unwanted and disastrous situation could be mitigated through use of the above-mentioned land.

The petitioner requested the court to set aside the impugned ordinance for taking over the airport being illegal. However, during the pendency of the petitions, the ordinance was converted into an Act after an approval by the provincial assembly.