ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) owes a cumulative sum of Rs150 billion to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) under the head of properties leased by the CAA, a senate committee was informed on Thursday.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Hidayatullah.
The committee was briefed about the properties leased to different companies by the CAA. DG CAA Khaqan Murtaza stated that bulk of properties have been leased to the PIA at a nominal cost and the leased agreement of said properties have not been revisited since long. According to recent figures, PIA owes 150 billion rupees to the CAA, he informed.
Moreover, the Senate body deliberated on the matter of two Airbus A320 worth around 20 billion USD grounded in Indonesia for the last one year. Amir Hayat, CEO PIA informed that redelivery work on both the aircrafts have completed around 82 and 92 pc respectively and the aircrafts will arrive in Pakistan by the end of June.
The Senate Committee was briefed by the CAA about the reason for the declining the routes of foreign airlines. DG CAA Murtaza apprised that a total of 31 international airlines have applied for operations to/from Pakistan with a total tally of 576 weekly frequencies from all the international airports in Pakistan and there has been no substantial decline in the upcoming summer schedule.
The committee inquired as to why the foreign airlines are not permitting the passengers to purchase tickets in rupees. Murtaza stated that passengers are buying foreign airlines tickets from remote locations using VPN or some other means and it costs relatively less than the tickets bought in Pakistan. The committee directed the CAA to submit a detailed report on the matter in the next meeting.
The committee also discussed the matter of cancellation of licenses of the PIA pilots. The committee was briefed that 141 pilot licenses were declared as suspected by the PCAA, the breakup thereof along with status is 18 pilots were not PIA employees, 18 pilots were terminated from service upon suspension/cancellation of license by the PCAA, 16 were deceased and separated, two pilots are on stay order whose decision is pending due to the same and remaining 87 were cleared by PCAA afterwards. The DG Civil Aviation apprised that the alleged pilot was involved in irregularities and obtained the APTL licenses by unfair means.
Senator Saleem Mandviwalla stated that the pilots have the initial CPL license and the examination can be conducted for the ATPL license. The chairman committee directed to constitute a subcommittee to probe the matter in detail.
The matter related to the PIA employees appointed on fake degrees was also taken up. The CEO PIA said that the individuals charged with fake degrees have been penalised with termination, however, the Senate Special Committee on affected employees restored the appointment of the charged employees. Senator Hidayatullah stated that the direction of the Supreme Court is crystal clear in this regard and should be strictly followed. He said that the employees appointed on fake degrees should not be re-inducted at any cost.
In addition to that, Senator Mandviwalla also pointed out that a huge bulk of pilots is leaving the country due to a major cut in their pay in the shape of heavy taxes. The CEO PIA apprised that in the recent period, 15 pilots have left the country and a petition relating to the hiring of young manpower for the PIA has been filed in Supreme Court which has not been entertained yet. The chairman committee commented that the future of young pilots is at stake and requested Senator Mandviwalla to take up the matter with the FBR in the Senate Finance Committee.
While discussing the reasons for the frequent cancellations of flights between Quetta-Islamabad-Quetta, the DG CAA apprised that rehabilitation work is ongoing at Quetta airport and the day-time operations will be started by the end of May. However, the night-time operations cannot be carried out because LC worth around 457,000 Euros for the procurement of necessary machinery has been declined by the government.
On the matter of complete details of staff posted at closed destinations. The CEO PIA informed that no staff has been posted on closed destinations.
The meeting was attended by Senator Mandviwalla, Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, Senator Syed Sabir Shah, Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Dilawar Khan, Joint Secretary Aviation Division Mir Hassan Naqvi, DG CAA Khaqan Murtaza, CEO PIA Amir Hayat, and other senior officers of relevant departments were also in attendance.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023