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Islamabad, June 27 – The Pakistan government has decided to lease out the new Islamabad International Airport to interested international investors in the first phase following the practical difficulties in outsourcing two international airports in Karachi and Lahore, media reports said.
So far, the new Islamabad International Airport has been declared a “clean” transaction compared to other airports. Therefore, the government is considering moving ahead with its outsourcing as early as possible, The News reported Tuesday.
Moreover, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in its presentation to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, has mentioned that there are parties interested in securing the operations of these three airports, The News reported.
However, it will not be easy for the government to proceed speedily as it has not yet advertised the outsourcing of any airport.
“There are some practical issues that need resolution before handing over airport to any international party. For instance, the national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has become a defaulter of various facilities of these airports,” top official sources confirmed while talking to The News.
“Even if the government were to take over the past liabilities of PIA, how would the new airport operator allow free-of-cost facilities to the carrier? This was one of the major concerns that needed to be resolved before moving forward.”
“In Karachi and Lahore, certain parts of the airports are occupied by some relevant agencies so that requires a permanent solution because the potential investors would like to utilise the complete airport for commercial purposes,” said the sources, The News reported.
The Airport Security Force (ASF) has also become one of the stumbling blocs in accomplishing this transaction.