ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Aviation Shujaat Azeem said the fleet strength of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was being raised to expand its flight operation.
“15 aircraft have already been added to the existing fleet of 37 and with five more by the end of this year – the total strength would be 42,” said Azeem.
“Revival of the airline was Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif’s vision, entrusted to me,” he said.
“Given PM’s directive, an aviation policy is being formulated, after a lapse of 15 years, which will exempt the investment in the sector from being taxed. Only revenue will be taxed.
“A professional board has been constituted for the first time and competent people hired,” he said, noting “over 300 employees holding fake degrees have been terminated.
“The average age of an operational aircraft has been reduced to nine years from 14 and will be further decreased to six.”
“Wi-Fi would be available on board and quality services will be ensured at the airport.
“Airports will have fog lights installations, working in a 50-meter radius even in zero visibility, to ensure smooth flight operations in extreme weather conditions.”
With regards to the rift with Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (Palpa), Azeem said it should be working towards PIA’s progress rather than halting flight operations.
“Government is willing to address their concerns as long as they perform their duties responsibly,” he said. “Salaries of Grade I to IV had been increased by around 55% despite the airline’s financial problems.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2015.