ISLAMABAD-Federal Minister for Aviation Khawaja Saad Raffique has said that the national flag carrier (PIA) has signed an agreement with the New York City Government to lease out Roosevelt Hotel in the United States of America (US).
He added that Roosevelt Hotel would be operated by the New York City local corporation for a period of three years. “Under the agreement, the US firm will provide residential facilities to housing migrants in the hotel,” he said while addressing a presser at a local hotel here. He was also flanked by secretaries of Aviation, Railways, PIA high ups and other senior officers of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Addressing the presser, Khawaja Saad Raffique, who is also holding portfolio of Pakistan Railways, said that the management had got an opportunity offered by the New York City government to utilize the hotel’s 1,025 rooms for migrant business.
He informed that Pakistan will earn $220 million of investment with $18 million as clear profit. Earlier, the Roosevelt Hotel was shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, he clarified. The minister informed that the govt has approved new National Aviation Policy -2023 to help revive Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and promote public-private joint ventures. “I believe that this new policy will cover all missing aspects,” he said, adding that the government will give insensitives to investors so that they could invest in this sector. Khawaja Saad Raffique was of view that new policy would also help in promotion of the domestic aviation industry, attract private investment for management and development of new airports, increase facilities for passengers, improve consumers’ protection and encourage aviation sector.
He said that the privatization or public-private investment is the only option to improve the standard of the aviation sector in Pakistan as attracting international brands is not possible when the sector is working with limited resources. The federal minister said that New Islamabad International Airport (NIIAP) was being outsourced through international competitive bidding for 15 years but no employee would lose job as all the employees will remain intact. He said that the government is not selling the airports under the shadow of outsourcing. “NIIAP, Allama Iqbal Airport Lahore and Jinnah International Airport Karachi will be outsourced, said the federal minister while addressing the media men. He said that the airfield and navigation will remain with the government of Pakistan. He said that the Civil Aviation Authority CAA has issued a tender for outsourcing of NIIAP while applications have been sought by November 8 and so far 25 applications have been received. He said that many countries have adopted the trend of outsourcing their airports for revenue generation including India that had planned to outsource its 25 airports. He said PIA was in bad condition despite efforts but the government under wise leadership of PM Mian Shehbaz Sharif laid the foundation to improve the national flag carrier.
He said that according to IATA’s business plan, the PIA should be having 40 aircrafts to make it profitable, but it has not been effective now. Federal Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Raffique said that more than 12 airlines have been allowed to operate in Pakistan. He said due to one statement on the floor of the house by the ex-minister of PTI, the PIA has to suffer a loss of 70 billion per year. He said that government will start work on ML1 mega project of railways in October 2023. He said that the bullet trains can’t be run in Pakistan nor the speed of rails could be increased more than 160km/hour due to different factors. He praised the Afghan Taliban for revamping their rail system. He said that even Ethiopia has the best airline in whole Africa. He said that PML-N government had discouraged the nepotism in Aviation and Railways.