ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to do away with discretionary powers of the aviation secretary for the grant and renewal of airline licences for domestic and international operations.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the Aviation Division secretary had powers to approve the issuance and renewal of licences of airlines in the country, but they were against a decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
According to the court’s ruling, the federal government means the federal cabinet, therefore, the government has decided to amend the rules in order to end discretionary powers of the aviation secretary. The issue was taken up in a recent meeting of the cabinet while considering the renewal of aerial work licences for VIP flights of the Government of Punjab.
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The cabinet was informed that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had requested the renewal of aerial work licences for one year with effect from September 30, 2018. The CAA certified that the air operator certificate for VIP flights was valid and CAA directorates had no objection to the renewal of the licences. However, Rs46,260 is outstanding against the operator. In that regard, the Punjab government had been informed by the CAA finance directorate for the clearance of dues.
Under Rule 177(1) of the Civil Aviation Rules 1994, the federal government is competent to approve the grant of various kinds of licences to the airlines for carrying out their operations.
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The cabinet was informed that as per previous practice, the approval for the issuance and renewal of airline licences was granted with the endorsement of the aviation secretary. The Supreme Court, in its judgment, said where the words “federal government” had appeared in the constitution and the legislation, the approval of the federal cabinet was mandatory.
The cabinet was informed that amendments to replace the words federal government with the appropriate authority in the Civil Aviation Ordinance 1960, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority Ordinance 1982 and Civil Aviation Rules 1994 were under process.
The cabinet considered the summary submitted by the Aviation Division for the renewal of aerial work licences for domestic and international VIP flights of the Punjab government for one year with effect from September 30, 2018 and approved it. It also directed the Aviation Division to send a summary for amendment to Rule 177(1) of the Civil Aviation Rules 1994 for the substitution of words federal government with the words appropriate authority.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2018.
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