Govt eases aviation policy terms

Relaxation given for renewal of charter licence of K2 Airways


Zafar Bhutta October 22, 2021
It was proposed in the cabinet meeting that provisions of NAP 2019 may be relaxed with a view to stimulating economic growth as well as providing affordable and efficient air travel to Pakistani passengers. photo: file

ISLAMABAD:

The government has relaxed its policy to renew the Charter Licence Class-II (Domestic) of K2 Airways.

The private airline had been issued the charter licence in 2018 under the then National Aviation Policy (NAP) 2015.

Subsequently, the federal cabinet, in its meeting held on September 23, 2019, granted approval for the renewal of licence for a further period of two years from May 29, 2019 to May 28, 2021 under NAP 2019.

Para 4.3.1 of NAP 2019 says if an operator failed to obtain AOC (Air Operator Certificate) within a maximum of two years’ time frame from the date of issuance of respective licence, 10% of the total security deposit will be levied as·non-conformance charges.

Subsequently, a fresh licence should be sought while the remaining security deposit should be refunded. The fresh application will require a new security deposit, which in this case is Rs10 million.

In a cabinet meeting held on October 12, 2021, it was stated that Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) had said that K2 Airways (Pvt) Limited failed to obtain AOC within the validity period of its licence, initially due to indecision about its operational plan and lately due to the disruption in the aviation sector caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

PCAA said that K2 was now in the process of preparing its engineering manuals, was engaged in technical documentation and had also shared the aircraft Letter of Intent (LOI).

Besides, K2 was in touch with the Airworthiness Directorate for Type Certification approval. The airline was finalising its flight crew training in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in coordination with the flight standards of PCAA.

It had been allocated space at the Jinnah International Airport, Allama Iqbal International Airport and Gwadar Airport for flight operations.

Moreover, PCAA had 100% cash security deposit submitted by K2 and its paid-up capital was also in line with NAP 2019.

Keeping in view the efforts made by the airline to acquire AOC and NAP 2019’s vision of providing ease of doing business, it was proposed that provisions of NAP 2019 (para 4.3.1) may be relaxed in favour of K2 Airways and it may be granted extension to acquire AOC till May 29, 2023 with a view to stimulating economic growth in the country, increasing job opportunities as well as providing affordable and efficient air travel to Pakistani passengers.

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In this regard, approval of the federal cabinet was solicited. During discussion, cabinet members supported the grant of relaxation keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the aviation industry in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cabinet considered a summary titled “Renewal of Charter Licence Class-II (Domestic) of K2 Airways (Pvt) Limited”, submitted by the Aviation Division, and gave its approval.

In the same meeting, the prime minister asked about the start of helicopter service to the northern areas to promote tourism in the country.

Secretary Aviation Division explained that further relaxation in the aviation policy was required to incentivise the start of helicopter service and a summary in this regard would be submitted to the cabinet in a few weeks.

The cabinet directed the Aviation Division to submit proposals within two weeks for kicking off helicopter service to the northern areas in a bid to realise the tourism potential of the country.

Air Sial

The Aviation Division informed the cabinet that PCAA had forwarded a request of Air Sial Limited that sought the issuance of Charter Licence Class-II (Domestic and International) for commencing chartered passenger and cargo services.

Air Sial is the holder of Regular Public Transport (RPT) licence and has been operating on domestic routes since December 2020 with a valid AOC. At present, the airline has a fleet of three A-320 aircraft and has plans to run chartered services in two phases.

According to PCAA, Air Sial has met the paid-up capital requirement as per NAP 2019 for both licences (Rs350 million for RPT and Charter Class-II).

PCAA said that its legal, finance, flight standards, airworthiness and economic oversight branches had no objection to the issuance of the licence and there were no outstanding dues against the airline.

As per NAP 2019, the federal government is the competent authority for the issuance of Charter Licence Class-II (Domestic and International).

The cabinet considered a summary titled “Issuance of Charter Licence Class-II (Domestic and International) for Air Sial Limited”, submitted by the Aviation Division, and approved the proposal.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2021.

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