ISLAMABAD: Officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have invited the Supreme Court’s (SC) attention to a government decision of outsourcing different airports and has alleged that the government had never made public the report on privatisation of different airports fearing strong opposition by the then defence secretary and the Pakistan Air Force in view of the fact that the privatisation/outsourcing of the airports would be a security risk, according to a report by a private media outlet.
In an application submitted to the court, the secretary general of the Union of Civil Aviation Employees, Lahore, Mohammad Ayaz Butt stated that due to strong opposition by the then defence ministry the privatisation/outsourcing process remained suspended.
The application stated that the CAA was established in 1982 and though previously the authority, along with the PIA, Airport Security Force (ASF) and Meteorological department, was under the defence ministry, the present government through a notification in the Rules of Business, 2013, created a separate aviation division under the cabinet by putting the CAA, ASF, PIA and Met department under the control this division.
The letter highlighted that the CAA was one of the richest departments and last year it earned Rs70 billion and soon after the operation of the new Islamabad airport, it was expected that the revenue might be increased to Rs100bn per year.
However, it said, this time they had named the privatisation as outsourcing of airports so that no objection could be raised from any quarter.
All the process was kept secret and the employees were never taken into confidence and a Lahore-based legal firm was engaged to deal with cases and other legal matters with the CAA by awarding a contract worth Rs49.9 million. Later, the contract was extended and more tasks were given to this firm without following codal formalities, the petition alleged.