ISLAMABAD: The special committee of the Senate on Thursday expressed concern over the loss incurred by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) due to launch and closure of a premium service.
A meeting of the committee was held here in the Parliament House with Syed Muzaffar Shah in the chair.
Besides members of the Committee, the meeting was attended by Prime Minister's Advisor on Aviation, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Secretary Aviation , Irfan Elahi, Managing Director PIA and officials of Airport Security Force (ASF), Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) and Custom.
The committee noted that the PIA’s premium service was launched without any proper planning and then its operations were stopped. During the six months of the premium service’s launch the national flag carrier suffered a loss of 2.88 billion rupees.
The Committee asked the board, which had given approval to launch the service to appear before it with a complete record.
Replying to various queries of members of the Committee on the issue of heroin smuggle from a PIA flight, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed told the Committee that soon after the incident an inquiry was ordered. He said that the group involved in the smuggling attempt worked at international level adding, "PIA is looking into the matter seriously.”
Member Committee Ilyas Bilour said that six months had passed since the incident took place but no action had been taken against the responsible officials. Upon this Sardar Mehtab said that an immediate removal of the officials from their posts would have created problems in the way of inquiry.
Senator Sherry Rehman said that after the incident many airports had banned PIA planes’ entry. She said that the inquiry done in the case so far was bogus. Prime Minister’s Advisor said that he did not want to put responsibility on any institution.
The Chairman of the Committee said that the PIA management should ensure that action is taken against the senior officials, who were on duty at the time of the incident.
The Committee also took into consideration a video footage that went viral regarding presence of a foreign nationality girl in cockpit of an international PIA flight. Managing Director PIA told the committee that a proper investigation was conducted into the matter but due to a stay order from the Sindh High Court a decision in that regard had not been announced.
The PIA officials could not give a satisfactory answer when the Chairman of the Committee asked as to what steps the PIA management had taken to vacate the stay order. The Committee termed the performance of PIA legal team as unsatisfactory.
The committee expressed concern when Prime Minister’s Advisor on Aviation told that at present there were over 300 stay orders against PIA on different issues.
The committee directed Secretary Aviation to prepare a comprehensive report about standard operating procedures (SOPs) of world’s renowned airlines and give a detailed briefing in the next meeting of the committee.