ISLAMABAD - Former Advisor of the Prime Minister on Civil Aviation Shujaat Azeem has said that he took several steps for improvement in the Pakistan International Airlines.

Talking to media yesterday, he said he tried his best to serve the country and established the aviation sector on strong footings.

He said he had not sought the slot for himself but accepted this as a challenge on an honorary basis on the request of the prime minister.

He said he took foreign nationality in 1995, adding dual nationals are in no way second grade citizens as they send remittances worth $13 billion per year.

He said he made all his investment in Pakistan and have 3500 employees in various businesses, adding his businesses are suffering due to this assignment. 

He said that the prime minister re-designated him as his Special Assistant requesting to bring about improvement in aviation industry and PIA. He said since he assumed the charge PIA’s losses reduced by 37 per cent in FY2014-15 and revenue increased by 6 per cent. Without legacy loans, PIA will be at a break even. “PIA posted an operating profit of PKR 2.83 billion in Q1 2015,” he added.

Likewise, he said since his joining in February 2014 a turnaround has been witnessed in the field of aviation. In addition major improvements have been brought in the affairs of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Airport Security Force (ASF) and Meteorology Department which would not have been possible without my personal supervision.

He listed the following projects undertaken by him during his period. National Aviation Policy 2015 announced after lapse of 15 years. The new policy focuses on safety, security and quality standards and encourages investment.

Completion of Multan Airport on March 9, 2015. New terminal building, allied facilities, airside infrastructure and passenger boarding bridges have been added.

Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad has been renovated to include fast track facility for passengers, new washrooms, new business lounge, new car park and taxi track delta, which will save millions every year.

Hajj lounge at Lahore airport has been renovated. Work on New Islamabad international airport 85% complete. Work on the up-gradation of Faisalabad airport has also been started.

Up-gradations at Quetta international airport include expansion of domestic & international briefing areas/lounges, construction of new public concourse hall with allied facilities, renovation of existing terminal building and provision of Passenger Boarding Bridges etc.

Remodeling of existing terminal building & addition of new block to cater for international/domestic arrivals/departures besides provision of allied facilities at Bacha Khan International Airport. New Gwadar International Airport is under construction. Replacement of passenger aero bridges at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi.

Replacement of VORs (Radio Navigation Aids) at Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar airports. Instrument Landing System (ILS) being installed and replaced at Karachi and Peshawar airports. New system CAT III B has been installed at Lahore airport which greatly reduces flight disruptions due to fog. Replacement of 25 years old radar system at Karachi and Lahore airports. Integrated Security System installed at Lahore airport and planned for other airports. Installation of JICA security equipment at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad airports. 360 degree aerodrome simulators being installed at CAA Training Institute Hyderabad. Average fleet age of 14 years in 2013 is projected to come down to 9 years by end of 2015.