Islamabad, 21 July 2023, (GNP): Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique made a significant announcement in the National Assembly revealing the government’s plan to outsource Islamabad Airport for 15 years. He clarified that navigational services and runway operations will continue to be managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), while other aspects will be outsourced to private operators.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank subsidiary, is acting as the government’s consultant in this strategic endeavor, he added.
Minister Saad Rafique assured that the outsourcing process will adhere to public procurement rules and be conducted under the private-public partnership authority regulations. He emphasized that competitive bidding would take place among the 12-13 interested companies, ensuring the implementation of best international practices.
“This will be Pakistan’s first airport that we are outsourcing. In it, the best international practices will be implemented,” said the PML-N leader. He highlighted that outsourcing airports is a common practice globally while citing examples from India, Istanbul, and Madinah where airports have been successfully outsourced.
The minister clarified that outsourcing does not imply selling or mortgaging the airport or causing unemployment among employees. He assured that all employees would retain their job security and receive salaries by the law.
Furthermore, Minister Rafique addressed the issue of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) deficit, advocating for its privatization. He stressed the urgency to restructure PIA and create a holding company for it, emphasizing the need for substantial investment. The minister emphasized that the move is essential to safeguard the rights of PIA employees and ensure the continuation of the airline.
Additionally, the aviation minister revealed that following the removal of the last “roadblock,” flights to the UK are expected to resume within the next three months. This development was hailed as historic and beneficial for overseas Pakistanis.
The government’s focus on infrastructure development and privatization aims to enhance efficiency and sustainability in the aviation sector, contributing to Pakistan’s economic growth and global connectivity.