Pakistan govt faces a dearth of forex reserves, plans to outsource Islamabad International Airport

Islamabad International Airport. Image credit: Wikimedia commons


IBNS: The Pakistani government, which has been facing a dearth of forex reserves, has been forced to push for the outsourcing of the operations of Islamabad International Airport (IIA).

Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has told the stakeholders to finalise formalities to outsource the operations of Islamabad International Airport (IIA) by August 12, the final day of the incumbent government’s term, sources told Dawn News.

The minister chaired a meeting of the steering committee for assessing the progress of airport operations outsourcing on Saturday.

A source privy to the meeting told Dawn News that the committee has given explicit instructions to complete the necessary procedures for IIA outsourcing as a priority.

An official announcement issued after the meeting said World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the transaction adviser for the outsourcing, briefed the meeting on the progress.

The meeting agreed to fast-track IIA’s outsourcing to improve service delivery in line with best industry practices, the Pakistani newspaper reported.

The IFC also gave a presentation to the committee which also took decisions on the future roadmap of outsourcing IIA operations.

The government, faced with a dearth of forex reserves, has been pushing for outsourcing the operations of major airports. The finance minister has already convened multiple meetings of the committee formed to engage foreign operators for outsourcing.

On March 31, the Economic Coordination Committee decided to kick off the 25-year outsourcing of operations and land assets at Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi airports. Their operations will be run through a public-private partnership to generate foreign exchange, Dawn News reported.

In the meeting on Saturday, Dar also gave a deadline to departments concerned for finalising amendments to civil aviation laws and a plan for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) restructuring.