KARACHI: A day after making plastic wrapping, an extra layer of protection over the baggage, of all check-in luggage mandatory at all airports of the country, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Sunday retracted its decision following social media backlash.
The aviation authority had taken the decision to increase compliance level with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The decision had drawn scorn and criticism from frequent flyers and environmentalists.
"What is the logic for this requirement ...if this isn't legalised corruption," one angry traveller tweeted. Asif Nawaz Shah, another social media critic, called the new policy a "corrupt profit-making endeavour".
Others suggested the quantity of plastic that would be needed was wasteful. "Why is the #CAA destroying the #environment," tweeted Ayesha Tammy Haq, a lawyer and broadcast journalist.
“The letter under reference is to be treated as cancelled ab initio with immediate effect. Any correspondence made in furtherance of the referred latter is also required to be cancelled,” said a notification issued by the CAA headquarters in Karachi on Sunday.
“Compliance with regard to the above instructions is to be ensured with immediate effect,” the authority added in the notification directed at Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad, Quetta and Sukkur airports.
Plastic wrapping of luggage made mandatory at all airports
In the previous notice issued to all airports of the country on Saturday, the CAA had said that all baggage of international and domestic passengers were to be wrapped with plastic sheet at the initial stage of scanning at combined search counters of Airports Security Force (ASF), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and the customs.
The aviation authority had already slashed luggage wrapping rates by up to 87% earlier this week.
Previously, most of the airports in the country had only one plastic wrapping machine, which caused nuisance to the passengers. To address the grievance, the CAA issued a tender notice for multiple plastic wrapping machines at main airports and reduced the service charges of Rs400 for large-sized bags and Rs200 for small-sized bags to a uniform rate of Rs50 for all sizes of bags.
Reacting to the aviation authority’s move, Air Ciro, a ground handling company owned by renowned defence analyst Air Marshal (retd) Shahid Latif, had moved court. The company prayed that it had been given the contract in 2017, which was bound to end until 2022, therefore, the aviation authority should extend its contract instead of inviting other players.
With additional input from AFP