25 of 42 Pak civilian airports non-operational: report

Last Updated: Monday, April 25, 2011 - 23:45

Islamabad: Over half of the 42 civilian
airports in Pakistan are non-operational with some of them
closed down due to security reasons.

According to official data presented in Pakistan`s
Senate, 25 of the total 42 airports in the country are
currently non-operational, the Express Tribune reported.

"These airports indicate the lack of public interest
and private airlines as a result of the current financial
meltdown in the country," Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar told
lawmakers.

Airports in Mirpurkhas, Talhar, Sibi, Mangla, Kohar,
Saidu Sharif, Bhagtanwal, Pakpattan and Mianwali were shut
down without an explanation whereas activities in airports at
Parachinar, Bannu, Rawlakot, Muzzafarabad and Khuzdar, among
others, have been scaled down, The Express Tribune said.

"Six to seven airports have been closed down in
Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa due to security reasons," a
senior official of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), under
whose jurisdiction the airports come, was quoted as saying.

The official said that there is no traffic on several
airports and aerodromes including Bannu and Saidu Sharif,
Kharan, Nushki, Sui and Fort Sandeman among others.

Tourism experts believe that private airlines are a
hurdle in the approval of CAA`s new policy which may lead to
reopening of these airports.

According to the new policy, licences of those
airlines which are not operating on these routes will be
cancelled.

CAA spokesperson Pervaiz George said around 3,000 to
4,000 people are currently employed at airports, which do not
host any flights.

George said approval of the new policy is being
considered by the cabinet in consultation with the ministry of
defence, the planning commission, World Bank, airlines, and
aviation experts.

The new policy will help CAA in utilising these
airports, he added.

The daily said the CAA claims on its website that it
has earned an operational surplus of Rs 8.7 billion during the
last two to three years.

The net surplus of CAA stands at Rs 7.1 billion, which
is 51 per cent of the income and 13 per cent above last year`s
net surplus, it claimed.

Mukhtar also informed the National Assembly that the
Pakistan International Airlines suffered losses worth Rs 79.8
billion in the last five years, the daily said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 25, 2011 - 23:45

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