Islamabad (October, 13th 2021) Meeting of the Senate Standing committee on Aviation was held under the chairmanship of Senator Hidayat Ullah here at Old Pips Halls, Parliament Lodges on Wednesday. Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Federal Minister for Aviation also attended the meeting
The meeting commenced with the detail briefing by the PIA on their working and performance. The committee was informed that the PIA has undergone, heavy losses (67.4 Billion (Total) 3201 (Operational) in 2018) with no strategic direction and poor service quality. A National Aviation Policy was revised in 2019 consulting the AVN Division to reformulate the Hemorrhaging National Aviation Policy with more balanced NA 2019. The PIA informed the committee that 10 years performance audit and statistical analysis was conducted with a comprehensive business plan 2019-2023 with the aim for an operation turnover towards profitability and balance sheet restructuring for addressing legacy debt. The committee was informed that in the year 2020, 94,989 Million Rupees revenue was generated and 680 Million rupees losses were taken place by the PIA. It was informed that in the year 2020 there was a total loss of 35,354 million rupees including burden of legacy debt. It was also informed that the Covid-19 hit market with nearly 60pc of operation coming to a halt. The PIA informed the committee that it recovered US$ 412.0 Million from airbus which was not perused by previous regimes and also resolved a claim of US$ 4.0 million from Air Asia. The PIA officials apprised the committee that it terminated 814 employees on fake credentials and tracked 700 bogus daily wages employees and removed them from services. The PIA is also simplifying its HR processes and restructuring through induction of e PIA employees Portal.
The PIA is also enhancing tourisms related flights by 300pc in line with Imran Khan’s vision to promote tourism in Pakistan. PIA has introduced new routes to Gilgit from Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Multan also Launched Air Safari Flight in partnership with Shangri-La Hotels for diplomats.
PIA informed the committee that it is inducting simulator to reduce training cost as an initiative for 2022 & 2023, and also implementing Engineering MRO project mostly for commercial activities.
The matter regarding a PIA-owned property in New York, was also discussed in the meeting, the PIA officials requested an in-camera meeting for the same as it was believed that the it has already been misinterpreted and misconceived through the media, however the PIA officials put it on record that the property has not been taken over neither attached by anyone and the case is under trial, no final decision has been announced as yet. The committee was informed that property initially was taken over by the bankers temporarily as it was lagging in financing of the emergent liabilities of Roosevelt Hotel Corporation including payment of local taxes and utilities, “ Now all dues are paid and the case is under trial” informed the PIA officials
The matter of the Ban imposed by European Union on flight operations of PIA was also discussed; the PIA officials said that a delay in lifting of the ban is due to delay in the audit. The ICAA kept pursuing the ICAO to conduct Audit at an early timeframe; the ICAO announced the audit in July 2021 which was postponed due to Covid-19. The ICAO has announced the new schedule for the audit from 29 November 2021 till 10 December 2021. The resumption of flights to the European Union will take place, after the Validation Audit. The PIA officials said that it is a National Agenda and requested the committee to forward recommendations in this regard to the Government
The committee also discussed the matter of PPRA rules, which causes delay in the procurement of aircrafts. The committee was of the view that either a PPRA rules may be amended or such a methodology be adopted in consultation to the PPRA in order to avoid any delays in its procurement. “PIA will never get a plane if they follow the PPRA rules”, Said Senator Mandivawalla, “and it like this not only not for air crafts but also for engines and cargo” he added.
The PIA officials also recommended that through this committee the socio-economic routes may also be revised and a definition of the socio-economic routes may also be given. The committee was also informed that flights from Peshawar to LHR have been restored, running twice a week from this month and also the flights from Islamabad to Malaysia have been restored which were earlier discontinued due to non-payment of lease dues.
The matter of non-implementation of the recommendations of the committee on the harassment charges against the then Special Assistant to chief executive officer (CEO) PIA, Kamran Anjum. , at the workplace with subordinate lady officer was also taken up. Senator Sherry Rehman expressed serious reservations on non- implementation of the recommendations of the Senate standing committee “ No body can rule over the Parliamentary Recommendations” said Sherry Rehman while showing resentment “No stay order can be issued on a Standing committee orders” , she said “he has been encouraged to do so by the PIA officials, he should have been court marshaled instead of repatriating him to his parent department, I have 6 complaints against him and he is still sitting on his post privileged with all the facilities continuing to harass women” She added, while beating the table. The PIA officials explained that they are not defending the official however he himself has gone to the courts in his defense and obtained a stay order, we are ready to repatriate him back to his parent department if we get a decision of the Supreme Court in this regard. Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Federal Minister for Aviation committed that the Senate Standing committee recommendations will be implemented and the official will be repatriated, before the next meeting.
Matter of fake licenses and revamping of pilot licensing system, action taken against the culprits involved in issuance of fake licenses was also taken up. The committee was informed the scrutiny of all available records of 262 pilots took place. The Federal Cabinet cancelled license of 50 pilots barring 7 court cases. Licenses of 32 pilots were suspended for a period ranging from 6 to 12 months (barring 11 court cases). 42 pilots violated FDTL which were dealt in accordance with regulations. The committee was apprised that based on data in corroboration with airlines, remaining licenses were found to be valid. The committee was further informed that the CAA initiated disciplinary proceeding against 6 employees on charges of facilitating pilots to appear through proxies, conduct of exam on unscheduled date and time and on public holidays and after office hours. Two employees were under suspension and four were dismissed on the decision of the Federal Cabinet. The federal cabinet also decided to initiate disciplinary and criminal proceeding against those involved and directed to continue liaison with international stakeholder in order to dispel any apprehensions about Pakistan Licensing Regime
The meeting was attended by Senator Faisal Saleem Rahman, Senator Raza Rabbani, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Aon Abbas, Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Saleem Mandviwala, Senator Afnan Ullah Khan and Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan. Senior official from Aviation Division and PIA were also in attendance