Pakistan decides to outsource three major airports on public-private partnership

BE2C2 Report (Updated)– The Pakistan government on Wednesday approved a policy to outsource management of the country’s three major airports on public-private partnership basis.

A number of other agenda items were also approved including enhancing cooperation and agreements between Pakistan and other countries in the field of aviation, defense, interior, health, law and order and others.

An official told BE2C2 on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, that several foreign companies including a Turkish, Chinese, and at least two Pakistani companies are interested in the the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad airports’ operations.

The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb while briefing the media on outsourcing these major airports considered strategic assets, said, “This is the policy that was approved by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2015.”

“By including private companies in the public sector, the management of the airports will be outsourced,” she said, adding that Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad’s international airports would be the first to be addressed by this change in policy.

The state minister explained that the policy made clear that the roles of operation, management and maintenance will be separate from the regulator.

“Airports across the world are regulated by organizations such as the Civil Aviation Authority and managed by private companies,” Aurangzeb maintained quoted APP, the country’s official news agency.

“There are different operations of public-private partnerships (PPPs). Under these models, not only have management and maintenance been outsourced to private companies, but also if a private company wants to build an airport they will be facilitated,” she said.

“Across the world, the regulator and the service provider are not the same,” the minister said.

Aurungzeb explained that because the regulator and service provider have remained the same in Pakistan, any incident that took place ─ for example if drugs were found on a flight ─ it had to be investigated by the service provider.

She added that a plan in this regard is yet to be made and signed with the private sector. “Once the plan is signed, an announcement will be made.”

New Islamabad International Airport

The New Islamabad Airport is the first greenfield airport with state of the art facilities nearing completion in Pakistan’s capital. The new airport will be the first airport in the country which will have the ability to handle the biggest passenger aircraft Airbus A380, a report said.

Inauguration of the new international airport is planned for mid-August this year. Testing, commissioning and international licensing could take another year or a year-and-half, an expert told BE2C2.

The new airport would have a capacity to handle 4,500 passengers at a time with 15 parking bays and terminal gates. Moreover, the airport would be able to accommodate two A-380 aircraft able to dock simultaneously.

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