Prime Minister Imran Khan came in to power with two main objectives. To make Pakistan corruption free and change the condition of poor people. It was certainly challenging and gigantic task. Since he has strong will power therefore we see no reason of his failure. Undoubtedly when institutions are politicized it breeds corruption and requires major overhauling. When you appoint cronies on key appointments then don’t expect miracles.
There is no doubt that CAA has been under cloud in the past due to massive corruption in the construction of New Islamabad Airport. Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry while hearing constitutional petition No 33/2013 had directed FIA to probe the corruption. CAA needed a proper person to put the things in order. It was Imran Khan who took notice of deteriorating condition of state enterprises and started appointing most honest and dedicated professionals to head the most prestigious institutions of the country. He made beginning from PIA and CAA, both pride of the nation. It will be followed by Pakistan Steel but we have to wait.
The appointment of new Secretary Aviation who holds additional charge of DG CAA has been welcomed by all in the aviation sector. There have been growing complaints by airline operators against the regulator authority CAA as they were not happy with the old Aviation Policy that created more bottle necks and failed to attract the investors. There was urgent need to change and bring in new Aviation Policy to address the issues of airline operators. The new policy formulated meets the aspirations of the people and have attended all the issues about aviation industry, Aircraft Vintage and paid up capital and security deposit and other related benefits shall certainly provide relief and attract investors. But there cannot be a free lunch as any national policy made should keep the national interest supreme.
As reported in the media Secretary Aviation has finalized New Aviation policy that will replace old Aviation policy introduced in March 2015. The most distinguished feature of this policy has been that it was first time that all stake holders were taken on board. A meeting was held in HQ CAA on 4 March lasting over 8 hours in which all stake holders were present. After detailed deliberations a comprehensive draft has been prepared and sent to the cabinet for its approval. A detailed presentation on the new aviation policy was given to the stake holders to highlight its important features specially kept to safe guard their interest. After the presentations stake holders were invited to give their views and comments.
It is heartening to note that in the new draft of the Aviation Policy various incentives, opportunities and benefits are the key features for air line operators that would yield positive results. Long outstanding demand of Airline operators to rationalize aeronautical charges has also been attended to their satisfaction. Any major change in aviation policy will be discussed and shall be implemented after obtaining consensus of all stakeholders.
We have seen in the past that our liberal attitude and relaxations given to airlines resulted in colossal loss to the state. To give you an example Shaheen Airline has total dues of Rs 20 Billion and they owe Rs 1.5 Billion to CAA, therefore you can only go to that extent that you can afford to bear the loss. Past CAA management has been very magnanimous in dealing with airline operators allowing Bhoja Airline to restart their operations without clearing the dues and Shaheen Airline to operate with such heavy dues but in return they never reciprocated. At the same time we don’t want to discourage the investors therefore fresh parameters have been introduced. Credit goes to aviation division in bringing excellent new Aviation policy which is user friendly and at the same time protects their own interest. In the past there has been massive irregularities and complaints against CAA, the new incumbent has closed all such doors and has adopted policy of zero tolerance. His greatest contribution is end of Mafia from CAA .
Nevertheless Aviation Division has done good job in bringing all stakeholders on one page, this step shall certainly help in implementing new proposed Aviation Policy and future growth in aviation sector. All the stake holders have welcomed governments New Aviation Policy and has appreciated the role played by Secretary Aviation. The new aviation policy seems to be a harbinger of change not only structurally but also in the value system of CAA. Like all the other institutions of state that are being subjected to reform CAA too must align with the reformist policy of the current government. It is hoped that meritocracy will replace the policy of preference and patronage in CAA under the current government’s reformist agenda.
The inconsistency in CAA stemmed from the appointment of Secretary Aviation and Director General resting in two different directions. Under the current arrangement the Secretary Aviation is also the DG Civil Aviation and much of the bickering and conflict of interest that emerged because the authority rested in different persons is now getting institutionalized by the same being embedded in one person. I strongly recommend it’s continuity for serving better results and sustainability for a given time line until order is restored in CAA.
The writer is a freelance journalist and defence Analyst.