The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has finalised the draft of a new aviation policy that aim s at supporting local players which otherwise have been failing to compete with foreign airlines operating under the existing `open sky policy`.

After having eight-hour deliberations with local stakeholders at the CAA headquarters here on Monday, the draft National Aviation Policy (NAP), 2019, also known as the `fair sky policy`, was finalised.

It would be sent to the federal cabinet and after getting its formal approval the new policy would override the `open sky policy`.

The CAA said that the main vision of the new policy was to regulate and facilitate stakeholders for the revival of the aviation sector. The new policy would have a number of `direct and indirect benefits and incentives for airline operators, pilots/cabin crew and most importantly the passengers travelling by air within Pakistan`, it added.

The previous open sky policy was introduced and continued by previous governments since they believed that `protectionism and restrictive market access policy` had suppressed the growth potential of the aviation sector.

But the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has decided to end the open sky policy because it wants to facilitate local airlines, especially the loss-making Pakistan International Airlines.

Travel agents, however, said that air travellers would be the ultimate victim of the new policy since domestic airlines lacked sufficient resources, including enough aircraft, to cater to the growing number of passengers.

They also feared that the ticket prices would go up substantially because of the monopoly of local airlines.

According to a CAA statement issued here on Monday, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat, who also holds the charge of director general of the CAA, chaired a consultative session and during deliberations, `proposals put up by the participants were also addressed for finalisation of the NAP 2019`.

It said the airline operators appreciated the proposal of the rationalisation of CAA aeronautical charges on domestic sectors and called it a step towards positive growth of the sector.

They also expressed their satisfaction over the steps promised in the draft policy for development of aircraft manufacturing industry and maintenance repair organisations.

They also fully supported the proposal to enhance the validity period of licences to airlines and general aviation operators from one year to two years.

Mr Nusrat informed the participants that the draft of the new policy was earlier shared with all aviation industry stakeholders to obtain their input for making it a mutually consented document.

The participants of the meeting expressed their satisfaction over the draft and `highly appreciated` the various incentives, opportunities and benefits of fered to airlines and operators.

The meeting was attended by the PIA chief, representatives of Air Blue, Serene Air, Air Indus, Air Sial, Vision Air, Princely Jet, Hybrid Technique,Air Falcon,Aircraft Sales and Service Limited, K2 Airways, Scaled Aviation Industries, International Air Travel Association, Afeef Zara Airways and Liberty Air.

Additional director general Air Vice Marshal Tanweer Ashraf Bhatti, deputy directors general Syed Aamir Mehboob, Khawar Ghayas, Air Commodore Syed Nasir Raza Hamdani and others represented the CAA in the meeting.

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