The meeting commenced with deliberation on the point of public importance regarding Chartered flight from India on 15th August 2022. The matter was raised by Senator Saifullah Abro. Khaqan Murtaza, DG Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), apprised the committee that the chartered flight came from india with three crew members on board, and 12 passengers including two USA nationals and ten Pakistani nationals boarded the same flight from Karachi airport destined for UAE. Senator Saifullah Abro alleged that the flight was used for money laundering and two American nationals were actually the family members of Former finance minister of Pakistan. Major General Adnan Asif, DG ASF, told the committee that the belongings of passengers were properly checked and also showed video evidence to committee. Senator Aon Abbas pointed out that the video only depicts checking of hand carry bags of passengers and there is no evidence relating to checking of 10 large trolley bags. In reply to that, DG ASF informed that according to IATA convention, ASF only holds video record of 30 days and this practice is followed worldwide. The Chair stated that the 30 days period is too short and recommended the Officials of Airport Security Force to enhance the period of record keeping considerably. The committee also decided to form Sub-Committee to further investigate the matter and nominated Senator Dilawar Khan as its convener.
Furthermore, the senate body was briefed about the reasons of cancellation of Inbound and outbound flights of all domestic airlines, specifically of PIA and Serene Air from Quetta-Islamabad-Quetta. Amir Hayat, CEO PIA, informed the committee that from May to October of this year, around 156 flights have departed from Islamabad to Quetta and 144 flights from Quetta to Islamabad. He further added that 18 flights from Quetta to Islamabad and 11 flights from Islamabad to Quetta have been delayed for less than 15 minutes due to bad weather and technical issues and total of 107 flights have been delayed for more than 15 minutes from Quetta-Islamabad-Quetta. The committee expressed satisfaction over the details provided by PIA officials and disposed of the matter.
In addition, the matter regarding unnecessary requirement of police report for pilots and crew members was also taken up. Adnan Asif, DG ASF, apprised the committee that this practice was first witnessed at Islamabad airport but as of now, this has been stopped and the authority has also issued a letter in this regard.
Moreover, the senate committee was also informed on the trunk and socio-economic routes. Khaqan Murtaza, DG CAA, apprised the committee that, In Pakistan airlines have to acquired Regular Public Transport license to conduct operations which is valid for 2 years and operators have to meet requirement of loss free paid capital of Rs.300 million for issuance and renewal of license and must have three aircraft to run domestic operations. He further added that according to policy, Regular Public Transport operators are required to serve minimum 2 trunk routes and operate 5 pc of capacity floated on primary and socio-economic routes separately. Senator Hidayatullah questioned that as of now, how many airlines are complying with these requirements. In reply to that, Khaqan Murtaza said that except PIA none is fulfilling these requirements. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla remarked that this policy is a complete failure and if no one is complying with these requirements then why do we have this policy. He also suggested that the report adopted by Senate should be taken into consideration. The committee deferred the matter for further deliberation till the next meeting.
While discussing the issue of increased construction of high rise buildings and encroachment activities on the airports surroundings. DG CAA told that this issue is majorly faced in Karachi, Sindh development Authority has been informed in this regard and letter has also been dispatched to Chief Secretary Sindh. Unfortunately, Thus far no action has been taken in this regard. Senator Hidayatullah remarked that, In other countries people do not prefer living near airports but in Pakistan the scenario is completely other way around. He further added that the mushroom growth of societies in vicinity of Islamabad airport will create a huge problems in the years to come and appropriate action must be taken in this regard.
Importantly, the senate committee was also briefed by ministry of foreign affairs about the steps taken so far to reduce the revenue loss of PIA due to non operational flights to China, Uk and Europe. Officials of foreign office apprised the committee that the matter is taken up at different International fronts and it is expected that European Union will pay on-site visit in the next year. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla was of opinion that Pakistan should fix a deadline for foreign countries so that if they couldn't allow our airlines to operate in that specific period then the country should go for revoking the licenses of foreign airlines. After a detailed deliberation, the committee decided to referred the matter to Senate committee on foreign affairs.
The meeting was attended by Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Senator Faisal Saleem Rahman,Senator Aon Abbas,Senator Saleem Mandviwalla,Senator Afnan Ullah Khan, Senator Dilawar Khan,Senator Saifullah Abro, Senator Umer Farooq, Secretary for Ministry of Civil Aviation Shoukat Ali,DG Civil Aviation Authority Khaqan Murtaza,DG Airport Security Force Major General Adnan Asif Jah Shad,CEO PIA Amir Hayat and other concerned officers were also in attendance.