The Aviation Policy 2023, featuring a double increase in security deposits and charges, has faced severe criticism from the Aircraft Owners and Operators Association of Pakistan (AOOA), labeling it as catastrophic.
In a press release, the association strongly condemned the significant surge in security deposits, now standing at Rs. 10 million, expressing concern that this move could deter new investments, potentially leading aviation companies to consider relocating abroad.
Highlighting the precarious state of the aviation business, the AOOA questioned the rationale behind the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) demanding an escalation in security deposits. Advocating for investor-friendly policies, the association urged the PCAA to provide relief to existing players facing challenging conditions by reducing security deposits and other charges.
Citing the impact of previous stringent aviation rules in 2015 and 2019, which led seven out of sixteen flight schools and numerous aviation companies to exit, the AOOA argued that the new policy exacerbates the situation. They disclosed that a major aviation company has already announced the sale of three planes and a 30% staff reduction due to the new policy.
Notably, the age restriction for importing aircraft was introduced in 2015, contributing to the decline of the aviation industry. The AOOA criticized this measure, emphasizing that age restrictions on aircraft are absent in Europe and North America. The association lamented the lack of stakeholder involvement in the policy-making process, highlighting that Pakistan stands as the only country where bureaucrats without aviation experience control the industry, ignoring input from parliament and stakeholders.