New aviation policy in the works: minister

Soomro says new framework will boost tourism as per PM's vision

Our Correspondent January 29, 2019
A file photo of Muhammad Mian Soomro. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister for Aviation and Privatisation Mian Muhammad Soomro said the ministry as per Prime Minister Imran Khan's guidelines has started developing a new aviation policy to ensure safety standards, facilitation of public and improvement in logistics.

The minister made these remarks while opening the three-day 27th Steering Committee Meeting (SCM) of Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme-South Asia (COSCAP-SA) here on Tuesday.

"Pakistan fully supports global policies and guidelines for a safe, efficient, sustainable and viable civil aviation," the minister said speaking on the occasion adding the new policy will be particularly in line with the premier's vision for promotion of tourism and facilitation of tourists.

He added for building a strong and dependable air transport system, Pakistan had upgraded its air navigation infrastructure and installed adequate communication, navigation and surveillance facilities.

The COSCAP-SA is a co-operative programme under the aegis of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) of eight South Asian countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Enumerating recent achievements made in the aviation sector, Soomro said the newly-built Islamabad International Airport is the most modern airport in the country. "A number of other international airports have recently been expanded and up-graded," he said adding construction of the New Gwadar International Airport would not only make a robust air transport system but would also trigger economic growth.

Referring to the theme of the meeting "Together for Aviation Safety", the minister said it must be put to work in interest of aviation sector of the region.  He expressed the hope that the meeting would place emphasis on fostering sustained, peaceful and unifying ties amongst all member states directed towards improving aviation safety.

Earlier, in his welcome address Secretary Aviation Division and Director General Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority Squadron Leader (Retd) Shahrukh Nusrat said Pakistan believes in the philosophy of sustained advancement in the field of civil aviation.

"Our efforts for sustained growth in civil aviation are evident from the revamping of our National Aviation Policy and the associated revitalisation of governmental role in regulations, strengthening of aviation safety and security practices," he added.

He said civil aviation authorities are regulators but they should also be facilitators for the progression and sustainability of the sector around the globe.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of COSCAP-SA and Chief Executive, Civil Aviation Authority Maldives, Hussain Jaleel highlighted the efforts of COSCAP-SA to promote the aviation safety as well as meet the professional proficiency requirements of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He highlighted how the forum is facilitating by imparting trainings and skill development of stakeholders in South Asian states under COSCAP-SA.

Meanwhile, Regional Director ICAO of Asia Pacific Region, Arun Mishra on the occasion apprised a total of 4.3 billion passengers are carried by air transport on scheduled services in 2018, which indicated a 6.1 per cent increase over 2017.

He informed over half of the world's 1.4 billion tourists, who travelled across international borders last year were transported by air and air transport was now carrying some 35% of world trade by value.

In this regard, he said, the Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region with an increase of 7.3 per cent.         He said aviation activities in South Asian countries had an average compliance level of 68.59%, which was above the global average of 67.03%.

However, he lamented the region critically lacked in qualified personnel in aviation safety oversight system, which was one of the main obstacles in its robust growth.  Chief Technical Advisor COSCAP-SA, Captain Marie Helene Zubryckyj on the occasion described the objectives of the meeting and provided the details of the agenda.


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