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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has granted approval for charter licence class-II to AirSial Limited (ASL) for domestic and international routes, official sources told Business Recorder.

On October 12, 2021, the Aviation Division noted that the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) had forwarded ASL request for issuance of Charter licence Class -II (Domestic & International) to commence charter operations for passenger and cargo. ASL was holder of Regular Public Transport Licence and was successfully operating on domestic routes since December 2020 with a valid Air Operator’s Certificate. The company presently had a fleet of three A-320 aircraft.

The AirSial had plans to operate Charter Services in following two phases: Phase-I: (i) Karachi-Islamabad-Karachi; (ii) Karachi - Lahore- Karachi and; (iii) Karachi- Peshawar-Karachi. Phase-2: (i) Pakistan-Jeddah- Pakistan; (ii) Pakistan-Mashhad-Pakistan; (iii) Pakistan-Najaf-Pakistan; (iv) Pakistan-Bishkek-Pakistan and; (iv) Pakistan-Sharjah-Pakistan.

The PCAA had also confirmed that the company had fulfilled the requirement of Paid-up Capital as per NAP-2019 for both the Licences (PKR 350 Million for RPT & Charter Class-II). PCAA had further informed that Legal, Finance, Flight Standards, Airworthiness and Economic Oversight branches of PCAA had no objection for issuance of the subject licence and there were no outstanding dues against the company.

As per the NAP-2019, the Federal Government was the competent authority for issuance of Charter licence Class-II (Domestic & International). The cabinet has granted approval to issue charter licence to ASL.

Meanwhile, the Federal Cabinet has waived off millions of rupees fine to K2 Airways (Pvt) Limited as the company failed to renew its Air Operator Licence (AOC) within stipulated time, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

CAA takes action against local carriers for cancelling scheduled domestic flights

On October 12, 2021, the Aviation Division apprised the Federal Cabinet that K2 Airways (Pvt) Limited was issued charter licence class-II (domestic) in 2018 under the then National Aviation Policy (NAP)-2015. Subsequently, the Federal Cabinet, on September 23, 2019, granted approval for renewal of the charter licence for a further period of two years from May 29, 2019 to May 28, 2021 under NAP-2019.

Para 4.3.1 of NAP-2019 provided that if an operator (RPT/Non-RPT) failed to obtain Air Operator Certificate within a maximum of two years’ time-frame from the date of issuance of respective licence, the 10 percent of the total security deposit would be levied as non-conformance charges.

Subsequently, a fresh licence had to be applied while its remaining security deposit should be refunded. The fresh application would require renewed security deposit. The security deposit in this case was Rs10 million.

It was stated that Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) stated that K2 failed to obtain AOC within validity period of its licence, initially due to its indecision regarding operational plan and lately due to the disruption caused in the aviation sector by Covid-19 pandemic.

PCAA had further conveyed that K2 was now in the process of doing their engineering manuals, technical documentation and had also shared the aircraft Letter of Intent (LoI). Besides, K2 was also in touch with Airworthiness Directorate for type certification approval. The airline was finalising its Flight Crew Training Organization at CAE Abu Dhabi, (United Arab Emirates) in coordination with Flight Standards Dte. of PCAA. They had allocated space at Jinnah International Airport, Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore and Gwadar Airport for their flight operations. Moreover, PCAA also had 100 percent cash security deposit submitted by K2 and paid-up capital of the company was also in line with NAP-2019.

Keeping in view the efforts made by the company to acquire AOC and NAP-2019’s vision of providing ease of doing business, Aviation Division proposed that provision of NAP-2019 may be relaxed in favour of K2 Airways and the company may be granted extension to acquire AOC till May 23, 2023 with a view to stimulate economic growth in the country, increase job opportunities and provide affordable and efficient air travel to Pakistani passengers.

The Federal Cabinet was competent authority to relax provisions of NAP-2019 vide para 9.4 of the policy.

During discussion, the members supported the grant of relaxation in view of difficulties being faced by the Aviation industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister enquired about the start of Helicopter service to the Northern Areas to promote tourism in the country. The Secretary, Aviation Division, explained that further relaxations in the policy were required to incentivize the start of Helicopter service, and a summary in this regard would be submitted to the Cabinet within few weeks.

After brief discussion the Federal Cabinet granted two years extension to the company to acquire AOC till May 23, 2023.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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