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Event Title: Senator Hidayat Ullah, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Aviation presiding over a Meeting of The Committee at Parliament House, Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-08-29

Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Aviation was held here at Parliament House on Tuesday with Senator Hidayatullah in Chair.

The Senate Committee deliberated upon the ongoing protest by PIA employees against the privatisation and non-increase in wages. Senator Mian Raza Rabbani underscored that employees has the right to indulge in any sort of agitation for their basic rights and demanded that FIR against PIA employees should be withdrawn. Amir Hayat, CEO PIA, stated that PIA is willing to negotiate with the employees, however, violation of law will not be tolerated. The Committee directed PIA to settle the grievances of employees through negotiations.

The Committee addressed Mr. Haseeb's Public Petition concerning the non-increase in pension by the CAA. Petitioner pointed out that pension of employees who retired in 2014 onwards, has not been increased from last many years.  As per CAA Employees Pay & Pension Regulations (2014) the pension of employees who retired on or before 2014, would be revised after every three years, however, this has not been implemented. The Committee decided to form a Sub-Committee to investigate the matter further, and nominated Senator Saleem Mandviwalla as it's Convener.

Senator Saifullah Abro highlighted the matter of delay in luggage handling at Islamabad Airport. CAA authorities apprised that 40-45 minutes is required in clearance of luggage as per international standards, however, the delay occurred mainly due to pre customs scanning, heavy load of baggage and congestion at airport. It was further added that Civil Aviation Authority closely monitoring the Ground Handling Agents (GHAs) and also taking punitive action against the GHA's to avoid delays. The Committee directed the CAA to provide details of GHA's with their staff details along with problems being faced in luggage handling in the next meeting.

While discussing the salaries, pensions and abroad stay of cabin crew, CEO PIA informed that employee salaries hadn't been increased in the past seven years due company's financial limitations. However, PIACL has increased the salaries of Cabin Crew in November, 2021 and Cabin crew is also eligible for pension. Additionally, cabin crew are entitled to stay at five-star hotels during foreign trips.

Regarding implementation of the recommendations by the committee in respect of PIA employees appointed on fake degrees,  the committee decided to file a 'Breach of Privilege' against the DG FIA for  non-compliance with the standing committee's directives and sending  officers not fully conversant with the case.

In addition to that, the committee addressed the tragic road accident near Kamoke that resulted in the loss of Rashida Majeed's life while she was en route from Sialkot to Lahore for duty on a flight.  Amir Hayat, CEO PIA, mentioned that the service provider responsible for assisting Pilots and Cabin Crew in reaching their designated duty locations had been terminated. Moreover, an amount of Rs. 4.8 Million has been provided to Rashida Majeed's family and an insurance payout of around Rs. 6.7 Million will be disbursed to bereaved family by the next week.

The committee was briefed on the issue of viable flights for Baluchistan Province. DG CAA, Khaqan Murtaza informed that 20 PIA flights, 3 Serene Air flights, and 4 flights from Fly are currently operating weekly to Quetta from various locations. He mentioned that other airlines are reluctant to operate due to commercial challenges. The Committee directed the CAA to develop a workable and viable commercial plan to improve flight for Baluchistan.

The meeting was attended by Mian Raza Rabbani, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Senator Umer Farooq, Senator Saifullah Abro and other senior officers of Aviation Division and relevant departments were also in attendance.