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Roosevelt hotel in New York (File photo)
Roosevelt hotel in New York (File photo)

PIA to challenge EU flight ban next week, PML-N opposes govt's move to privatise Roosevelt Hotel

ANI | Updated: Jul 05, 2020 10:58 IST

Lahore [Pakistan], July 5 (ANI): The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), along with the country's diplomats settled abroad, will file an appeal in the coming week against the six-month ban on the national carrier from operating in Europe, The Express Tribune reported.
The airline has also sought the assistance of European and UK parliamentarians of Pakistani origin in resolving the matter as the ban is likely to cost Rs 33 billion (Pakistani rupees) to the exchequer.
Pakistani diplomats are engaged in efforts for the reversal of the decision.
The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended PIA's authorisation to operate in EU member states in the wake of the grounding of 262 Pakistani pilots whose licences were termed "dubious" by Pakistan Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
The EU aviation safety watchdog said it was concerned about the validity of the Pakistani pilot licences following the minister's statement.
Following the EASA's move, the UK Civil Aviation Authority also withdrew PIA's permit to operate from three of its airports -- Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester.
The PIA was operating 23 flights to the UK every week -- nine to London, 10 to Manchester and four to Birmingham.

The airline is already facing a loss of 12 billion Pakistani rupees as it will not be operating Hajj flights this year. The suspension of flights for Umrah passengers has also affected its revenue.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi recently spoke with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell seeking the reversal of the ban.
He assured the EU official that steps being taken by the government were aimed at ensuring the highest level of flight safety in PIA operations. The minister also sought the need for the EASA to review its decision.
But the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), the union for PIA's pilots, has alleged that the announcement of the "dubious" licence holders was a planned government move against the pilots to cut their headcount.
Meanwhile, PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) lawmakers have written a letter to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser calling for the revocation of a notification for the formation of a cabinet committee for the "unconstitutional" privatisation of the PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
The letter, signed by six PML-N members, on Saturday, said that the privatisation of the hotel was against the Constitution, financially unsuitable and a waste of public money.
On Thursday, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation authorised the privatisation ministry to hire a financial adviser for finalising the transaction structure of Roosevelt Hotel, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance after a meeting.
Every successive government, including that of Pervez Musharraf, has tried to sell or give the hotel on lease. The last serious attempt was made during the PML-N government's tenure when the Privatisation Commission had the hotel valuation done by a third party.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has alleged that the government was finding excuses to sell off the assets of the PIA to benefit its frontmen. (ANI)