Aviation experts and retired PIA senior officers have lambasted the National Aviation Policy 2015 terming it anti-PIA and said that same does not seem to curb the challenges faced by the local aviation industry.

Former Deputy Managing Director (DMD) PIA, Khursheed Anwar said that said policy was not even comment worthy or to put on a paper. He said that those who have drafted said policy do not know even the problems of Pakistan Civil Aviation. He said they were only making money after damaging national carrier by giving domestic routes to foreign airlines.  Central President of Peoples Unity of PIA employees Hidayat Ullah Khan said, “We have delivered presentation to chairman Senate in this regard wherein we told him that after implementing this policy, Shaheen Airlines and Air Indus will be first two victims who will have to wrap up their business”. He said that as per this policy one can run his airline with minimum five aircrafts and maximum 12 years old planes. Air Indus have three planes where as Shaheen’s fleet is older than 12 years. After two years PIA’s most of the planes would also not airworthy as per policy.  Another aviation expert said ‘The new aviation policy has failed to achieve the goals of providing field to the local carriers to grow, capability building, creating more jobs and getting the national carrier PIA out of the crisis”. The expert added that instead of having industry-centric approach the policy leans towards favouring foreign airline companies and attracting foreign organisations.

Standard approach is not adopted in finalisation of the report. ‘The quality of the report suggests that a systematic step-by-step approach necessary for development of such documents, as practiced all over the world, has not been adopted,’ he added.

While developing such studies, he added, it is imperative to initiate discussions with all relevant stakeholders like government/ industry/ public and organise seminars and group discussions. ‘As a normal process, the final draft is issued only after thorough debates on at least two to three initial working papers with all relevant stakeholders, irrespective of their willingness to participate,’ he added.

Unfortunately, he added, the policy document for 2015 has been prepared in isolation and it entails more questions and problems rather than provision of answers and solutions. ‘Instead of discussing item-wise specific issues and challenges faced by aviation in Pakistan, the report talks about mundane issues and practices of the industry that are not very relevant to ground realities in Pakistan,’ the expert reasoned.  ‘It is no hidden fact that the competent authorities of Pakistan exercised their discretionary powers in grant of flights to foreign airlines from all airports in Pakistan by ignoring the sacrosanct clause of reciprocity and appointed non-professional management on political considerations without impunity,’ said the expert.

Spokesman for PIA, Amir Memon said that PIA could only forward its recommendations regarding Aviation policy and final decision would be taken by the Ministry in this regard. Advocating the policy, he said at present Conservative business model would not be helpful for Pakistan globally rather it would tarnish the image of the country at international level. He was of the view that after induction of new aircrafts in PIA’s fleet objections being raised by the critics would be responded automatically.