ISLAMABAD

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday directed to present the National Aviation Policy, which has already took huge time in formulation, in the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet for consideration.

The finance minister gave these directions during a meeting for reviewing the proposed Aviation Policy put forth by the Aviations Division.  The National Aviation Policy (NAP) was last launched in 2000 and Pakistan operates without any aviation policy for the last 15 years. The PML-N government had started formulating the National Aviation Policy since assuming the charge of the government in June 2013. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aviation, Capt Shujaat Azim, in interview with The Nation back in July 2013, had claimed that National Aviation Policy would be out in four months, 120 days. However, the government has yet to finalize the policy after passing more than one and half year. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aviation, Capt. Shujaat Azim apprised the Finance Minister about salient features of the policy saying it aimed at promoting professionalism in the aviation sector through public-private partnership. The Policy envisaged strengthening Pak Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) and incentivizing aviation business in Pakistan.

Public-private partnerships, Shujaat said would be introduced for airport operations, management and development. He explained that in order to enhance regulation of aviations services paid up capital requirement was being enhanced for airlines coming into business. Minimum number of aircrafts required for domestic and international operations was also being reviewed, he added. He hinted at outsourcing management of landside and terminal buildings to known international companies engaged in airport business through a transparent process at major airports. Shujaat said that private investment would be encouraged for overall promotion of the aviation sector. The draft policy offered tax-free investment in the aviation sector and outsourcing of all major airports , landside and buildings to prominent foreign companies active in the airport business through a transparent process. The policy also recommended developing quality repair and maintenance facilities in the country to save huge expenses on seeking such services abroad. The meeting was informed that investment in the sector would not only generate revenue but also create a large number of job opportunities and thus help alleviate unemployment. The Finance Minister appreciated the initiatives by the Aviation Division and directed that the Policy document may be presented to ECC in due course for consideration. He hoped that the Policy, when it was finally implemented, would help growth of aviation sector in Pakistan and contribute to strengthening of the economy.