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Event Title: Senator Hidayat Ullah, Presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation

Event Date: 2022-09-29

The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation on Thursday took notice of the suspension of flights to key European destinations. The committee observed that if Pakistani carriers had been restricted from flying to EU states since July 2020 when the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorization to operate flights to EU member states and no efforts have been expedited even by the British Government in this regard consequently a reciprocal policy should be adopted and no European carriers should be allowed to Pakistan directly. The Senate Panel was of the view that it is a deliberate attempt to close carriers to come to EU directly and every passenger is picked up by the gulf airlines. The chairman committee after due deliberation directed to take up the matter with the Foreign Ministry along with the Civil Aviation Authority and discuss the process, the delay and way forward that would lead to lifting of restrictions on Pakistani airlines. The Ministry apprised that the government is synced with the Civil Aviation Authority which deals with routes. The chairman committee directed the Ministry to come in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign affairs and make correspondence directly with the Britain government for resumption of flights to the UK and other Europeans focal points. The committee also inquired on the revenue losses incurred because of the suspension of flights to the UK. It was estimated that 100 bl rupees losses have incurred so far. The committee sought a tabulated report on the same along with other queries in lined in the next meeting.

Meeting of the Senate Standing committee on Aviation was held here at the Parliament House on Thursday with Senator Hidayat Ullah in the Chair, several matters pertaining to the quality and services rendered by the Pakistan International Airlines were talked out. Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah inquired on the imposition of additional charges on seats after the ticket has been purchased. The CEO PIA replied that no additional charges on the avail of seats have been implied and further that he would conduct an inquiry on the same and give report as to how and why such charges have been imposed. Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah also commented that the PIA announcements at the time of welcoming the passengers is not appropriate and recommended to review the announcements in terms of locution used, to this the CEO replied that presently used phrases were also on the demand of the public however said to revisit the announcements and make appropriate changes. The chairman committee said that all PIA announcements and services should be according to the International standards keeping in view the traditions and culture of Pakistan. The committee also inquired whether or not the SOP of wearing masks are still enforced the CEO replied that the SOPs of wearing a mask are still in force and said that all such enforcements are made through the civil aviation policies. Senator Syed Muzafar shah lamented that even after the SOPs are in action yet no enforcement on the same was made by the Pakistan Airlines and people were seen without mask. The committee also inquired on the 15 pc inflationary relief which has not been yet implemented by the PIA to which it was apprised that the matter has been commensurate with the HR committee and the board, he said that the decision of the board will be the final decision on the matter.
The investigation report on the matter pertaining to public importance raised by Senator Azam Khan Swati on negligence and inhuman behavior of the PIA staff on ground at Dubai International airport with passengers of flight PK -212 on 14th August 2022 enroute to Islamabad was also submitted by the Ministry as per the findings of the investigation the CEO informed that rigorous process was conducted in available record and statement of Staff, it has been identified that initially, engineering tried their level best to rectify the aircraft fault at local level , however the particular faulty component was not available in Dubai based in all airlines including Emirates. Eventually the aircraft was AOG and there one option to arrange components from Pakistan. Upon receiving the components within two hours the aircraft became serviceable. The CEO also informed that explanation has been issued to Saeed Gul and Mr Noor Shah he said that further action will be taken on receipt of reply from them.
The matters pertaining to various inductions and recruitments, incumbents and posting were clubbed and deferred because of the absence of the movers, with the directions of the chair to clear the point of two different recruitment procedures taking place simultaneously.
On the matter of briefing on the free ticket policy of PIA specifically during the years 2019,2020, 2021. The PIA officials informed that at the time of issuance of free tickets, all g0vemenrt taxes are collected from the employees and deposited in Government treasure. It is further apprised that first priority is given to Revenue Passengers (Customer). However, after closing of flight check in time for revenue passengers, the employees wished for travel on said flight are given boarding pass(if seats are available ) . Since the seas of Aircraft are perishable commodity therefore no special treatment is given to employees in any circumstances.
Briefing by CAA on theft of engines and other expensive parts of planes parked at sealed hanger of CAA, Karachi airport, as reported in the media and the action taken by authority in this regard. The committee was informed that claims are contrary to the factual position and was just to malign the image of CAA and the country as well. Electronic Media has also issued rebuttal of the same. The aircraft of K.k Aviation is in shed area where as rooms are locked.
On the matter of rising incidents of theft of money and other precious items of passengers during travelling within aircraft the officials informed that alleged theft inside the aircraft cabin, CCTV footage is not available if the allegedly stolen items could not be recovered and there is a proven difference, in the checked in weight of the checked baggage /hand carry baggage and he weight of baggage at the time of either receipt of checked baggage from conveyor belt/reporting of incident of alleged theft from hand baggage in aircraft, then the airline will have to compensate the passenger for every kilogram of weight which is less than baggage weight at the time of check –in , in line with carriage by Air, 2012. It was also informed that no theft has been reported during the last two years on PIA flights
Matter of the briefing on the policy of PIAS regarding floating and retaining f shares in then market the committee was apprised that PIA shares in the market, it is submitted that is not governed under any stated policy formulated by the Federal Government or for that matter, PIA: it is the discretion of the Federal Government being the majority shareholder as to how much of its shareholding in PIA is to be divested through stock market. The committee was informed that as per international Airlines Corporation (Conversion) Act, 2016 the shareholding of the Federal Government in PIA cannot be less than 51 pc
The meeting was attended by Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah, Senator Faisal Saleem, Senator Saleem Mandiwala and Senator Azam khan Swati. Officials from the Aviation Ministry, the Pakistan International Airlines and other attached departments were also in attendance.