As a responsible Citizen of Pakistan, I want to draw the kind attention of the Prime Minister of Pakistan towards modernizing Jinnah International Airport (JIAP) Karachi, which was built more than two decades ago and it is the time to revamp it totally to meet the growing demands of domestic and international flights and also to cater CPEC transportation requirements.
In this connection, here are some suggestions to Revamp the Airport :
Jinnah International Airport has one main terminal which is divided into two concourses.
*The Jinnah East Satellite Concourse being used for International Flights
*The Jinnah West Satellite Concourse being used for Domestic Flights
Jinnah International Airport was completed in the year 1992 and after that we have not seen any improvement. Today most of the countries have A-380 aircrafts in their fleet but it is strange that Jinnah Airport’s runway is not capable to handle A- 380. It also does not have facilities for big passenger aircraft handling. Therefore, Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan must pay immediate attention to up lift the Karachi Airport. CAA can hire the services of best architects, engineers and interior designers and make both concourses i.e. East & West more suitable for international flights. We have all expertise in the country and don’t need any foreign services / funding. However, the present elevation of the airport should not be changed and only cosmetic changes inside the buildings should be made with locally available material, thus making two concourses reserved for international flights only. Then CAA will have more space to handle more flights and will generate more revenue.
The old airport Terminal 1 building is also required to be renovated and should be reserved for handling domestic flights. However, original elevation of the building should be kept intact and only structural and cosmetic changes are to be made inside the buildings.
By doing these changes, traffic congestion at the two airports will also be eased due to allocation of terminal 1 building for domestic flights and Jinnah International Airport to be used for international flights.
CAA should provide all facilities to the passengers inside the two airports according to international standards.
Moreover, there is plenty of open land outside Jinnah International Airport which can be used for Hotels, Shopping Malls and Recreational purposes and this will be another source of generating revenues.
Now let’s talk about our national flag carrier PIA – The Great People to Fly with
Once PIA was World renowned Airline and pride for the Country, but by the passage of time, it began to decline only due to political interference. Sadly PIA ‘s performance has gone down to a level where PIA has turned from profit earning organization to a body which is suffering with heavy losses like other state owned organizations.
Present Government’s policies are encouraging towards restructuring of PIA. There are few important things that PIA management should look into seriously for making improvements in the whole system.
* Improvement in ticketing system is required and travel agents’ role should be improved and it should be transparent. I have travelled two times to London on PIA and every time I was surprised to find thirty to forty percent seats vacant in the Boeing 777 aircraft. Just imagine this is one big reason for losing money due to vacant seats. Passengers in the aircraft enjoyed having two, three seats extra free of cost. That’s the area where PAA should think upon as it’s causing a great loss to PIA. Other sectors might also have the same problem and there is a greater need to adopt a fool proof ticketing system like other airlines of the world.
*PIA also needs to improve inside the plane services especially while flying on long routes where one finds the toilets in the aircraft closed for no reasons. This has become a permanent feature and no one is looking after this whereas it does not require any big budget . Secondly there are no entertainment facilities inside the plane these days in PIA , while every other airline has very sophisticated systems in the aircraft. So imagine that you are on board for 7 – 8 hours and you can’t find any entertainment item making the travel very boring. The amount of ticket that passenger is paying is more than what passenger is getting from PIA.
Inspite of all above there are some significant developments seen in flight operations as most flights are operating on time, flight crew is now very cooperative but young and smart staff must be added to match other airlines , quality of meal is better now but it needs further improvement.
I hope PIA &CAA will provide much better services in times to come. There are so many other things which do not require any big amount or foreign exchange to accomplish the job, get more aircraft of modern days and transform PIA into a profitable airline.
We are proud Pakistani and we want our national flag carrier to grow again to become one of the finest airline in the world.
By : Waqar Boss chairman of Oktopus Media Group