The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation has sought interim report on corruption as well as financial irregularities during the construction work of New Islamabad International Airport within four weeks. The committee met here under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahidullah Khan on Thursday in which the committee sought interim report regarding corruption practiced during the project completion of new airport as well as detailed report within 8 weeks.
Secretary Aviation Shahrukh Nusrat told the committee that Pakistan has declined an Indian request to open air space until India de-escalates. "The Indian government approached asking us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward," Shahrukh Nusrat told the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation.
The secretary was responding to questions from members of the committee who were inquiring about profitable and loss incurring routes of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). Chief Executive Officer PIA Air Marshal Arshad Malik presented to the committee seven new routes, which have been introduced to earn profit while five loss-making routes were closed.
According to the senior official, PIA revenue has bumped 34 percent after saving 20 percent on operation costs, improving cargo services, controlling delays, fuel management and centralizing food procurement. He explained that PIA saved Rs 35 million in two months after earning from excess baggage which were up 11 percent and improving cargo load factor by 55 percent.
"We have also recovered a Boeing 777 and an A320 Airbus aircraft lying abandoned for 15 months, after repairing them at a cost of $3 million. The fleet now consists of 28 planes and we are leasing two new aircraft," Air Marshal Arshad Malik informed members. The official also briefed about restoration of seven PIA properties across the world including New York and Amsterdam and renting them to earn enough to buy new aircraft. Another 29 internal properties are in the process of restoration that will be used to generate equity.
"The house in New York will go rent for an estimated $6, 000," the senior official said. The members were concerned about the meagre pensions of the former PIA employees. The CEO PIA responded by saying that his request to increase pensions by 35 percent was declined by the Board, which instead agreed to 15 percent.
During the meeting Chairman of the committee PMLN Senator Mushahid Hussain urged the CEO to reconsider re-instating PIA staff that has been dismissed for possessing fake degrees. "We would like to urge the CEO to reconsider their cases on compassionate grounds. If the national flag carrier can retain the few despite possessing fake academic records, the PIA can look into the cases of those dismissed. PIA management took a harsh stance of removing them from service instead of handing down minor punishments for their offence," Mushahidullah Khan said.