ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government has decided to postpone its plans for outsourcing airports until they receive clearance from a Steering Committee led by the Finance Minister.
The decision comes following a detailed presentation by the Aviation Division to the Cabinet on August 29, 2023, regarding the outsourcing of Islamabad International Airport.
The presentation highlighted the benefits of private sector involvement in airport operations, citing international examples where this practice had improved service quality, unlocked revenue potential, and attracted investment
Efforts to outsource Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi airports have been ongoing for several years, with a fresh initiative launched in December 2022.
The government aimed to follow the framework of the Public-Private Partnership Authority Act 2017 to select a private partner responsible for designing, building, rehabilitating, financing, operating, and maintaining the airport, with eventual transfer back to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA).
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, was appointed as the transaction advisor on April 11, 2023, to guide the project.
The Steering Committee, chaired by the Finance Minister, was established to oversee and guide the outsourcing project.
The Minister for Culture and National Heritage suggested that Pakistan’s cultural heritage should be incorporated into the airport infrastructure, emphasizing that airports are showcases of national culture.
The government aims to ensure that the outsourcing of airports proceeds smoothly and efficiently, with the Steering Committee playing a pivotal role in evaluating the project’s feasibility and benefits.
The Cabinet’s decision to pause the outsourcing plans reflects a commitment to transparency and diligence in executing these significant initiatives in the aviation sector.