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PM satisfied with aviation policy 2019, wants it sent to cabinet for approval

RAWALPINDI: The prime minister on Thursday expressed satisfaction with the draft National Aviation Policy (2019) and directed the secretary aviation to send it to the federal cabinet for approval in its next meeting.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday received a detailed presentation on the aviation policy from Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat. Federal Minister for Aviation Mohammad Mian Soomro, officials from the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, Aviation Division and the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) were also present on the occasion.

According to a CAA press release issued on Friday, the secretary aviation said the policy had been drafted in line with the vision and directives of the prime minister for reviewing the existing policy, rationalising CAA charges and facilitating the aviation sector overall.

All stakeholders were taken on board at all stages, aviation secretary says

He said this was the first time in the policy-making history of the aviation sector that all stakeholders were taken on board at all stages when preparing the draft policy for 2019. He added that their inputs were also incorporated in the document, which made it a widely consented policy.

Mr Nusrat told the prime minister all stakeholders including airlines, general aviation operators, representatives of the aircraft manufacturing industry and the International Air Transport Association had appreciated the draft policy during a final review meeting, which lasted more than eight hours.

The premier was told that the vision of the draft policy is “to ensure a safe, secure, efficient, sustainable and facilitating aviation sector in Pakistan at par with the best international aviation practices, contributing to national development based upon the organic market growth”.

Enumerating the salient features of the new aviation policy, Shahrukh Nusrat said that it aims at reduced cost of doing business, ease of doing business, promotion of tourism and ensuring regional connectivity, improved and modern facilities and future growth in the aviation sector.

He said that the new aviation policy proposed to enhance the license validity period of commercial airlines and other operators from one year to two years and that of cockpit and cabin crew from one year to five years.

Referring to its objective of reduced cost of doing business, he said that all CAA-related charges on domestic flights are being waived off.

He informed the premier that a new type of license has been proposed in the new policy namely the Tourism Promotion and Regional Integration License, which will also be issued to helicopter commuting services and no CAA charges shall be levied at both ends of the selected socio-economic destinations to promote tourism in Pakistan. He added that all CAA airports will be modernized with the latest facilities and amenities.

Sharing the outcome of NAP 2019, he said it will improve gender balance in the pilots’ fraternity because special incentives for training of female pilots are being offered by CAA. More domestic airlines are expected due to rationalized CAA-related charges resulting in a competitive environment which ultimately would also lead to reduced air fares. As a result ‘more job opportunities’ is also one of its promising outcomes, he added.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2019

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