ISLAMABAD - The chief operating officer of the national flag carrier has been performing his duties since February 2016 without security clearance from the Ministry of Interior.

Minister in-charge of the Aviation Division, in a written reply, told the National Assembly yesterday that as per Air Navigation Order 001, the security clearance was required for the director and CEO of any airline registered in Pakistan if they held foreign or dual nationality. The Aviation Division has already sought NOC for PIA Chief Operating Officer Bernd Hildenbrand from the Ministry of Interior, but response from the ministry was awaited. The Aviation Division was constantly pursuing the case, the aviation minister added.

He averred since there was no permanent chief executive officer of PIA at present, Hildenbrand was holding additional charge of CEO in addition to his own duty. During his career, he worked in various countries, including India. He had been hired on contract basis after observing codal formalities for a period of two years with effect from February 12, 2016, he added.

Answering the question of Dr Shazia Sobia whether the wife of Hildenbrand was working in Indian Airlines, the minister said she was working in Airport Personal Service at Frankfurt airport, a subsidiary of Fraport AG. “The company is responsible for outsourcing manpower at Frankfurt airport in Germany. Fraport AG is a German Company and has no connection with India,” he affirmed.

Answering another question, the minister said total accumulated losses of PIA till 31-03-2013 were Rs 156.22 billion, which increased to Rs 255 billion by the end of 2015.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, while answering a question, said Pakistan Railways was purchasing 55 locomotives of 4,000 and 4,500 horsepower from the United States of America.

He said 63 locomotives were received in 2013-14 and 2014-15, which were purchased against the agreement with M/s CSR Ziyang, China, in 2012-13. The total amount spent on their purchase was $129.688 million.

The education minister said Rs 767.931 billion were allocated for education in the federal budget 2015-16. He said insufficient amount was allocated for education due to less fiscal space, but with improvement in economy the education budget was increased gradually during last three years.