KARACHI - A team of Canadians is due in Pakistan soon to inspect and examine the facilities provided at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.
Transport Canada, a government department based in Ottawa overseeing transportation policies, is set to dispatch a two-member delegation to the airport starting December 4.
The mission of this Canadian team is to conduct a comprehensive security audit and evaluation of the airport, with a particular focus on the security measures of Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) direct flights to Canada.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) affirmed its commitment to facilitate the Transport Canada team throughout their visit.
The delegation's work scope includes scrutinizing various aspects such as flight operations, baggage and cargo handling, access control, and perimeter security.
Moreover, the experts will assess procedures involving the CAA, PIA, Airport Security Force (ASF), cargo complex, and flight kitchen.
It bears mentioning that the Canadian Transport Authority had acknowledged PIA's adherence to international operational standards in its report released in 2021 though a statement by former Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar dent a massive blow to the repute of the carrier.
Sarwar had implied that PIA pilots had fake licenses, a statement which sent shockwaves across the international aviation industry finally leading to the cancellation of direct PIA flights to the United Kingdom and other European destinations.
Former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had confirmed that the direct flights to the United Kingdom would resume in October though there seems little to no possibility of resumption of flights although multiple audits have already been done in this regard.
The national carrier has been facing financial challenges for quite a long period of time and calls have been made to privatize the loss-making entity. On the other hand, Pakistan has also decided to outsource three international airports located in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government had confirmed that the Islamabad Airport would be outsourced for a period of 15 years.
The former Aviation Minister, Khawaja Saad Rafique had 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 the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank offshoot, is the government’s consultant on outsourcing and around a dozen companies have shown interest.
The then 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, adding that outsourcing does not mean that the airport is being sold or mortgaged.
Pakistani currency remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 21, 2024 (Wednesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.
Euro comes down to 300 for buying and 303 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.5 for buying, and 354 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.15 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.
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