PIA’s fleet being raised to expand flight opeartion: Shujaat Azeem

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 29 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Aviation Shujaat Azeem Sunday said the strength of Pakistan International Airline’s (PIA) fleet was being raised to expand its flight operation.
Some 15 aircraft had already been added in the fleet of 37 and
with addidtion of five more by the current year end, the total strength
would become 42, he said while talking to a private news channel.
He said revival of the national airline was the vision of Prime
Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who had entrusted that task to him.
He had accepted the challenge and would do his utmost in that regard.
There was no personal benefit involved as he was not drawing any salary
for the job. In fact he was working for a national cause, he added.
Shujaat Azeem said collective wisdom was needed to run the
airline. For the first time a professional board had been constituted.
Moreover, competent people were being hired, including some Germans
in the marketing department.
He said more than 300 employees holding fake degrees had been
terminated.
Replying to a question, he said the age of an operational
aircraft had been reduced to nine years from 14, which would
be further decreased to six.
Shujaat Azeem said after lapse of 15 years, an aviation policy
was being fomulated on the directives of the Prime Minister. Under
the policy, investment in the sector would be exempted from tax.
Only the revenue generated would be taxed, he added.
He said that facilities such as Internet and
Wi-Fi would also be introduced in PIA’s flights.
The Special Assistant said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was
working to provide best facilities to the passengers at airports.
He said for the first time in the country’s history, fog lights
were being installed at airports which would work in the radius
of 50 meters even in zero visibility. The initiative would help
smooth flight operation during bad weather, he added.
To a query, Shujaat Azeem said the Pakistan Airlines Pilots
Association (PALPA) was a welfare organization which should work for
the progress of PIA rather halting the flight operation for their
personal demands.
The government, he said, was committed to address genuine concerns
of the pilots and other employees but they also should perform duties
with dedication.
He said salary of Grade I to IV had been increased by around
55 per cent despite the fact that the airline was facing financial
problems.