Islamabad airport ‘to be outsourced for 15 years’

In this picture taken on April 26, 2018, Pakistani airport workers walk past the Islamabad International Airport on the outskirts of Islamabad.  - AFP
In this picture taken on April 26, 2018, Pakistani airport workers walk past the Islamabad International Airport on the outskirts of Islamabad. – AFP
  • The aviation minister clarified that the move is not tantamount to privatisation.
  • Runway, navigation operations will not be included in outsourcing.
  • The need to restructure PIA to overcome its substantial deficit has been emphasized.

Islamabad: Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq announced in the National Assembly on Friday that the Islamabad airport would be outsourced for 15 years to improve its operational activities.

He clarified that the move is not tantamount to privatisation, but is aimed at bringing in skilled operators to enhance airport operations.

The federal minister stressed that open competitive bidding would be ensured, giving an opportunity to the best bidder to operate the airport, adding that the process would be profit-oriented, which would ultimately benefit the national exchequer.

International Finance Corporation will act as advisor and already 12 to 13 companies have shown interest in participating in the bidding process, he said. He also assured that the process will be transparent and all rules and regulations will be followed.

However, the aviation minister said that runway and navigation operations would not be included in the outsourcing process.

Highlighting the success of outsourced airports in other countries such as India and Turkey, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader noted that Madina airport has also been efficiently outsourced to provide better services.

He also stressed the need for restructuring Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to address its substantial losses, which have reached Rs 80 billion this year and are expected to rise to Rs 259 billion by 2030 if not dealt with appropriately.

Rafiq stressed that no employee would be fired and all existing employees would retain their job security and privileges. He also mentioned that best practices will be implemented to ensure efficient management of facilities at airports.

Regarding the future plans of PIA, he told the lower house of the parliament that the total liability of PIA is 742 billion rupees, currently only 27 to 28 aircraft are in operation.

He stressed the need to save the institution and underlined the importance of the restructuring law, which has been approved by the National Assembly in its last meeting.

To address the deficit, the minister revealed plans to restore flights to the United Kingdom within three months, after which flights to the United States and Europe would be resumed.

He issued a warning that urgent reforms are vital to prevent the deficit from rising further in the coming days.

The federal minister also acknowledged that a statement by a former federal minister for aviation had caused problems for PIA, assuring that all audits and tests have been successfully cleared.

Furthermore, he advised industrialists to invest in the railway sector instead of opting for privatization.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top