Financial crunch: 25 airports across country await flights

ISLAMABAD — At least 25 of the 42 Pakistani airports under the jurisdiction of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are non-operational, official data presented on the floor of the Senate has revealed.

By Our Correspondent

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Published: Tue 26 Apr 2011, 11:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:57 PM

These airports indicate the lack of public interest and private airlines as a result of the current financial meltdown in the country, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar told senators.

Airports in Mirpurkhas, Talhar, Sibbi, Mangla, Kohar, Saidu Sharif, Bhagtanwal, Pakpattan and Mianwali were shut down without an explanation whereas activities in the Parachinar, Bannu, Rawlakot, Muzzafarabad and Khuzdar, among others, have been scaled down.

“Six to seven airports have been closed down in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa due to security reasons,” a senior official of the CAA said.

The official said that there is no traffic on several airports and aerodromes including Bannu and Saidu Sharif, Kharan, Naushki, Sui, Fort Sandeman, Mir Baz, Bandari, Dhingar, Nakundi, Kalat, Loralai, Pishin, Taftan, Reko Diq, Chagai and Kharan East.

Tourism experts believe that private airlines are a hurdle in the approval of CAA’s new policy which may lead to the opening of these airports.

According to the new policy, licences of those airlines which are not operating on these routes will be cancelled.

CAA spokesperson Pervaiz George told reporters that around 3,000 to 4,000 people are currently employed at airports, which do not host any flights.

George said approval of the new policy is being considered by the cabinet in consultation with the ministry of defence, the planning commission, World Bank, airlines, and aviation experts. The new policy will help CAA in utilising these airports, he added.

Meanwhile, the CAA claims on its website that it has earned an operational surplus of Rs8.7 billion during the last two to three years.

The net surplus of CAA stands at Rs7.1 billion, which is 51 per cent of the income and 13 per cent above last year’s net surplus, it claimed.

Defence Minister Mukhtar also informed the National Assembly that the Pakistan International Airlines suffered losses worth Rs79.8 billion in the last five years.

“The corporation suffered a loss of Rs11.7 billion during the first three quarters of financial year 2010,” he said.

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