The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation was held on Wednesday at the Parliament Lodges. Members were briefed on various issues that currently being faced by the Aviation Sector in Pakistan.
The meeting was presided over by Senator Hidayatullah. Members of the Committee who attended were Senator Dr. Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, and Senator Saleem Mandviwalla. Senator Dost Muhammad and Senator Keshoo Bai, attended as movers of motions and petitions referred to the Committee for review along with senior officers from the Ministry of Aviation. Matters taken up included revival of DI Khan Airport, reopening of PIA office in Hyderabad and increased quantum of delayed flights from Quetta. The matter pertaining to banned flights in the UK and the European Commission was discussed as well. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla presented a report of the sub-Committee of the Committee on Aviation that discussed Aviation Policies of Pakistan in detail and identified loop holes. Senator Mandviwalla recommended change in rules for revival of the Aviation Sector in Pakistan. He added that ways to increase tourism in the country must be explored.
The meeting commenced with a detailed briefing on the revival of the DI Khan Airport. The Committee was informed that a viability survey would be carried out and a report will be submitted to the Committee within three months. The Committee was further briefed that the runway of the Airport was not adequate to cater to large flights. It was asserted that it was especially designed for ATR planes. The Committee asserted that the government must ensure that it serves the people of Pakistan and reviving this Airport would be a huge service to Pakistan’s people.
Reviewing the dynamics for closure of PIA office in Hyderabad and its reopening raised by Senator Keshoo Bai, the Committee asserted that given the level of IT knowhow of the masses making online flight bookings were out of question. The Committee was informed that PIA bookings could be managed via agent networks in the city. However, a study for more details will be conducted and its findings will be shared with the Committee.
Taking up the issue of incessant flight delays in Quetta, the Committee was of the view that measures must be taken to ensure that this trend is curbed. The Committee was informed that one major reason for cancellation of flights is bad weather which is experienced between October to March. Cancellation on operational grounds was another factor for delay. The Ministry of Aviation assured the Committee that all measures will be taken to ensure that flights operate on time. However, the safety of the people cannot be compromised.