ISLAMABAD:Federal Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique Sunday stated that outsourcing airports could serve as a solution to address the persistent basic facility woes in the country.

While addressing a press conference in Lahore, Saad Rafique announced plans to outsource airports in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad. The minister also highlighted the lack of basic facilities in the existing airports, emphasizing the need for improvement.

The operation of these airports will be entrusted to an international firm, with the aim of enhancing the services provided, he added.

Saad Rafique mentioned that an agreement has been signed with the International Financing Corporation (IFC), and numerous countries have expressed interest in collaborating with the IFC.

Recognizing the existing challenges, Rafique argues that involving private entities in airport management and operations would lead to improved basic facilities for passengers and travelers.

“Plans are underway to make Suhrawardi Khan Airport an international airport,” he added.

In light of the current state of affairs, Saad Rafique emphasized that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) cannot continue in its current condition and that changes are required to improve its operations.

The Federal Minister further added that the Roosevelt Hotel, which was closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has become a major concern for the government.

“An agreement has been reached with the New York City Administration, whereby the government of Pakistan will receive $220 million,” he said, adding that, “Under this agreement, 1,250 rooms of the hotel have been leased for a period of three years”.

He stated that the hotel will bear its own expenses and contribute to Pakistan’s economy. Additionally, it was decided that no employee from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will be employed at the hotel.