During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation on Thursday, Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) CEO, Amir Hayat, informed the committee that a significant number of pilots had left Pakistan recently due to high taxes. Additionally, the committee was briefed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) about the decline in foreign airlines’ routes to Pakistan.
According to the Director General of the CAA, Khaqan Murtaza, 31 international airlines had applied for operations to and from Pakistan with no significant decline in the upcoming summer schedule. However, the committee inquired about the foreign airlines’ refusal to allow passengers to purchase tickets in rupees. Mr. Murtaza explained that passengers were buying tickets from remote locations using VPN or other means, which cost relatively less than the tickets bought in Pakistan.
The committee also discussed the cancellation of licenses of PIA pilots, with 141 pilot licenses declared suspected by the CAA. The matter related to PIA employees appointed on fake degrees was also taken up, and the PIA chief confirmed that individuals charged with having fake degrees had been penalized with termination.
Senator Hidayatullah expressed concern for the future of aspiring pilots and directed Senator Saleem Mandviwalla to take up the issue with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) through the Senate Finance Committee. The committee also discussed a petition relating to the hiring of young workforce for PIA, which was yet to be entertained by the Supreme Court.
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The Senate body deliberated on the matter of two Airbus A320 worth around $20 billion grounded in Indonesia for the last year. The PIA chief informed the members that re-delivery work on both aircraft had been completed by around 82% and 92%, respectively, and that the aircraft would arrive in Pakistan by the end of June.
The committee was also briefed about properties leased to different companies by CAA. Mr. Murtaza stated that a major bulk of properties had been leased to PIA at a nominal cost and the leased agreements of the properties had not been revisited since long. However, PIA currently owes Rs150 billion to the CAA, according to the latest figures.
Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, along with senators Mohsin Aziz, Faisal Saleem Rehman, Dilawar Khan, and officials from different departments, also attended the meeting.