The Senate's standing committee on aviation on Wednesday asked the relevant authorities to expeditiously implement its earlier recommendation of forming a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the alleged corruption in the construction of the Islamabad International Airport (IIAP).
The committee met with Senator Mushahidullah Khan in the chair on Wednesday. It was suggested that to expedite the process, it the matter should be submitted to the prime minister and the federal cabinet so that an effective probe body can be formulated on the issue.
During the meeting, Aviation Secretary Hassan Jamy briefed lawmakers about ongoing inquiries which are being conducted by teams of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), into different the contract packages awarded during the construction of the airport. He said that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had paid Rs94 billion to different companies by June 30, 2020, for the construction of the airport.
Of this, Rs81.482 billion was spent under 'Different Work Packages' and is being probed by the two agencies.
The meeting further got an in-camera briefing on a report submitted by the Women Protection Committee of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
The committee also listened to the relevant officials in a case about harassment at the workplace.
Later, PIA officials shared details about the national flag carrier's Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) and its projected financial implications.
They said PIA's total strength was around 14,500 [including outsourced staff] while it currently has a fleet of 29 aircraft, which cost Rs2.06 billion per month.
When compared with other airlines, the officials said the PIA has a ratio of 500 employees per aircraft, while Qatar had 133, Emirates 231, Turkish 94, and Etihad 211. Qatar Airways is operating with 240 aircraft and a total staff 32,000 employees,
Emirates operates 269 airplanes with 62,356 employees, Turkish Airlines has 329 aircraft and a workforce of 31,000 people. Etihad Airways has 102 airplanes.
In the PIA, the officials said, the eligibility for early retirement was 20 years of service along with all applicable benefits.
But by benchmarking the 20-year cut-off service limit, employees who have completed 19 years of service may be deprived of terminal benefits that were allowed with completing 20 years of service.
By addressing the disparity, officials said a cut-off had primarily been based on 18 years of service.
The segregation of below 18 years of service had been made in two classes, including employees with less than 10 years of service and employees who have more than 10 years and up to 18 years of service.
They said the projected total one-time payout of the VSS for 3,200 employees, including provident fund, stands at Rs12.87 billion. While the annual gross salary impact for these employees will be approximately Rs4.2 billion.
They clarified that PIA’s management is trying to prepare attractive packages for those employees aspiring to benefit from VSS.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Senators Faisal Javed, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah, Sherry Rehman, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Sajjad Hussain Turi and Behramand Khan Tangi, besides senior officers of Aviation Division and PIA.
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