It’s official: Pakistan is privatizing Pakistan International Airlines


ISLAMABAD – The federal government in Pakistan has decided to privatize the national carrier battling a financial crisis for a very long period of time now.

The decision to privatize loss-making Pakistan International Airlines was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The committee “after deliberation decided to include Pakistan International Airlines Co. Ltd. in the list of active privatization projects of the ongoing privatization program, following an amendment in the law by the Parliament,” a finance ministry statement said on Monday.

The participants of the meeting also supported the hiring of a financial adviser to process the transaction of Roosevelt Hotel, New York, an asset of PIA Investment Limited.

The decision to privatize PIA comes amid measures to reduce the losses of the national exchequer through different state own enterprises; the national carrier is also set to resume flights to the United Kingdom and other European destinations by October.

In 2020, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight operations for Europe over safety concerns.

EASA said that they had suspended the Third Country Operator (TCO) Authorisation to PIA after it failed to comply with the proposed corrective action plans (CAPs).

At least six findings were raised with the PIA officials during meetings in June and September 2019, out of which five of the action plans were implemented while one other concerning element of a Safety Management System was not implemented.

Earlier, the government decided to outsource the operations at three international airports of the country located in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad.

In this regard, Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique told newsmen that the Islamabad International Airport would be outsourced for 15 years.

The finance minister has already convened multiple meetings of the committee formed to engage foreign operators for outsourcing and soon Karachi and Lahore international airports would also be outsourced if the plans are executed.  

The outsourcing of three airports has been kicked off within the scope of a public-private partnership to engage private investors/airport operators through a competitive and transparent process. 

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