LAHORE: The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) is being criticized over a controversial decision to make plastic wrapping of check-in luggage compulsory for travellers commuting through any airport of Pakistan.
The notification issued by CAA states, “All check-in baggage of international and domestic passengers is to be wrapped with plastic sheets at the initial stage of scanning at search counters of the ASF, ANF and Customs.”
The notification further states, “Wrapping charges are fixed at Rs50 per bag. As per clause 22 of the License Agreement executed between PCAA and M/s Air Ciro, the licencee shall all the times conform in all respects with provision of law, rules and regulation which may be applicable to the premises or to the business carried thereon under the license or any lawful directions issued in respect thereof by any authority.”
“It is therefore advised under clause 22 of the Licence Agreement to ensure immediate compliance to the directives of the government. Furthermore, the said rate should be prominently displayed at your business premises for the convenience of the travelling passengers,” the notification stated.
It is worth mentioning here that the notification is part of an agreement between the PCAA and Air Ciro, a company owned by Air Marshal (r) Shahid Lateef who is also a defence analyst.
Answering the queries on social media regarding this matter, Shahid Latif admitted that the company was owned by his late brother and was presently run by him, whereas the bid for this plastic bag was done by his late brother and they had followed a “complete process”.
Well maintained sources in PCAA informed Pakistan Today that on the one hand, the government was announcing a plastic-free policy state and this decision to wrap luggage in plastic ran contrary to the earlier decision.
“The plastic wraps are also not environment-friendly and the plastic material which is used for the bags is also not degradable,” they added.
Interestingly, the stats available on PCAA official website indicate that the number of travellers during the fiscal year 2017-18 was over 1 billion.
Out of one billion, more than 7.4 million people travelled on international flights and almost 3.6 million took domestic flights.
If calculated, according to the previous year stats, the total income earned will be over Rs 550m.
Sources further informed that the CAA was already taking airport tax from passengers and this packaging could be adjusted in that amount easily.
Previously, plastic wrapping was available at airports but it was conditional; however, the government has made it mandatory now.
Social media was abuzz over the CAA’s decision to wrap luggage in plastic, which will be paid by the passengers.
Syed Talat Hussain, a senior journalist and anchorperson, tweeted: “Shahid Latif, who is seen saving and protecting Pak through his analysis almost every night, will be making a lot of money. Of course, you will pay him as you will be forced to wrap your luggage at the airport. It’s compulsory even though it is optional across the world’s best-known airports.”
Afia Salam, a journalist from Lahore, has tweeted, “Besides, how much earlier will people have to reach the airport to get it done so all passengers of the flight do it. To check in, one hand carry each…300 plus tax in each flight… Several flight with parallel departure times? What a genius move!”