PIA refutes PAPLA allegations

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In response to a press conference held by Capt. Sohail Ahmed, General Secretary, PALPA, the details of which were published in the national newspapers on August 22, 2015, a PIA spokesman has said the allegations made by the Palpa General Secretary were unfounded and baseless. He said that though Capt. Sohail Ahmed was a PIA employee, he had resorted to less dignified means to further his own agenda.

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The spokesman said PIA had been involved in all the deliberations and consultations that were held in the formulation of the National Aviation Policy 2015. These meetings, he said, were regularly attended by the then acting Chairman PIA, MD PIA, Director Corporate Planning and other relevant people. He said PIA had also attended meetings held on August 28, 2014 in Karachi and on December 12, 2014, in Islamabad, apart from several follow-up meetings.

 The spokesman said it was also alleged by Capt. Sohail Ahmed that the National Aviation Policy 2015 engendered selling of airports, domestic routes and travelers to foreign carriers but this was simply not true. The National Aviation Policy 2015, the PIA spokesman said, only envisaged the outsourcing of major airports like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi to improve services and revenue streams. As such, outsourcing was not tantamount to selling and was a best practice in vogue internationally.

 The spokesman further said that in order to provide air transport facilities to the public, the Aviation Division had asked PIA to operate flights to Multan, Quetta and Sialkot. However due to a shortage of equipment, PIA could not immediately cater to the requirement.

 The spokesman said the National Aviation Policy 2015 had recommended the concept of ‘open-skies’ to improve service delivery by introducing healthy competition between airlines since the ultimate beneficiary would be the end-consumer who was being provided better service delivery.