ISLAMABAD - In its efforts to outsource the operations at Islamabad International Airport, the government has finally sought applications from bidders.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued an international tender directing interested parties to submit the applications by November 8 after which the operations of the airport would be outsourced to the most feasible bidder.
The development comes days after Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique announced that the airport would be outsourced for 15 years but added that the navigational services and runway operations will not be outsourced and Civil Aviation Authority will continue to do it.
Rafique explained that International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank offshoot, is the government’s consultant on outsourcing and around a dozen companies have shown interest.
The lawmaker, while speaking in the National Assembly, assured that there will be competitive bidding and that public procurement rules are being completely followed; he also confirmed that no one will be rendered jobless.
The minister told the legislators that Islamabad airport will be Pakistan’s first airport that will be outsourced and best international practices will be implemented.
The lawmaker opined that the world’s best airport operating practices are through private operators. Citing the example of India, Rafique said there are around eight airports whose operations have been outsourced.
'Likewise, Istanbul’s airport is outsourced, and the same is true for Madinah’s airport. There are countless examples,” he said.
The minister also clarified that outsourcing does not mean that the airport is being sold or mortgaged.
Earlier, it was decided that the Islamabad International Airport will be outsourced by August 12 and formalities in this regard would be completed soon.
The government has been advocating the outsourcing of three major airports across the country at a time when a severe economic crisis is being faced by the nation.
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.
The investors and airport operators would be required to "run the airports, develop appertaining land assets and enhance avenues for commercial activities and to garner full revenue potential," an official statement added.
Pakistani currency remained largely stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 20, 2024 (Tuesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.05 for buying and 282.1 for selling.
On Tuesday, Euro stands at 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.4 for buying, and 355.4 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.55 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.2.
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