ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Tuesday approved the lease of five A320 aircraft from the ten A319/320 aircraft short listed on merit based on their combined score tabulated on their financial and technical parameters.
The ECC, which met here under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Finance Mohammad Ishaq Dar, rejected the remaining five aircraft because of their low combined score.
The Committee also approved the dry lease of five A320 aircraft with the direction that the lease period of the present aircraft hired on wet lease may be extended so that a pool of at least ten aircraft be maintained for convenience of general public and passengers.
The ECC also authorized PIA to initiate bidding for tender of additional five aircraft which may be inducted by June 15, 2014.
The meeting observed that the finalization of this lease by Pakistan International Airlines would not only rehabilitate its international credibility but also improve its image.
The Secretary Aviation informed the Committee meeting that due to earlier approval of ECC in its meeting of July 12, 2013 and release of Rs.12.7 billion, the PIA was able to add six additional aircraft which raised the number of operational aircraft from 20 to 26.
This, he said, had increased schedule integrity (in time) and no complaints of delay was reported during Hajj operations which was smooth after many years.
The Secretary Aviation also informed the ECC that the loss of PIA had reduced from Rs.3.3 billion to Rs.1.5 billion last month.
The PIA management stated that the improvement in the performance, service and financial health of PIA was a result of the regular financial support and continued oversight by the present government.
The ECC approved providing guarantees to Exim Bank of USA and Islamic Corporation of Insurance and Export Credit (ICIEC) for providing financing for servicing and repairs of nine bowing 777 aircrafts which are the main stay of PIAC fleet subject to approval of financing terms by the Finance Division.
The Finance Minister observed that generally Exim Bank does not provide loans for repairs and maintenance and this reflects the confidence of the international institutions in the economic policies of the present government.
The committee also approved extension of validity of existing guarantees for PIA by the Government of Pakistan for term loans of Rs.33.50 billion until 30th June 2014.
The meeting directed that these term loans be converted into new term finance certificates (TFC) at the earliest in order to retire the said guarantees.
The ECC expressed concern over reports in media regarding increase in the prices of essential commodities and directed the provincial governments to further strengthen monitoring of prices and check hoarding and profiteering.
The meeting expressed the hope that the provinces would share information and follow best practices to provide relief to the common man in maintaining fair prices of essential commodities.
Work on the revival of Executive Magistracy may be expedited by the committee already constituted for the purpose so that a more effective check can be made against profiteers and hoarder, observed the ECC.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Food and National Security Sikandar Bosan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for Information Technology Ms. Anusha Rehman, and senior officials of the ministries of Finance, Water and Power, Planning and Development, Commerce, Communications and Industries, and Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Umar.