ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday, 26 March, approved a new Civil Aviation Policy to promote tourism and give a boost to the aviation industry in the country.
After the approval, while Briefing the media, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the government would facilitate tourists traveling to the northern areas and other resorts by reducing expenditures up to Rs4 billion.
The minister further said Pakistan was withdrawing its open-sky policy as the policies of previous governments had caused a lot of damage to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) after the profitable routes were auctioned off to other airlines. In addition, the government decided to review agreements with all the international airlines, added Fawad.
He said that the CAA has decided that it will not charge any taxes on the meal costs of flight kitchens, which would hopefully increase the quality of food offered in flights.
He said the cabinet also discussed to start helicopter and 40-seater planes service to the tourist sites in the country.
Fawad further said Finance Minister Asad Umar has agreed to sit and devise a policy along the CAA’s recommendations so that taxes on domestic flights can be reduced in order to make domestic travel cheaper.
As per the new policy, he said the government will encourage women to become pilots and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will contribute up to Rs.400, 000 in fee for the purpose. In new policy, he told the duration of licence of pilots has been increased to five years.
The information minister also noted that the Interior Ministry had earlier in the day issued a notification stating that its NOC regime has been ended. As a result, if foreign tourists come to Pakistan and want to visit Gilgit-Baltistan, they will not require prior approval from the authorities.
Moreover, he said that the e-visa facility is being provided to five countries, including China, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom. He said people from 58 countries can get a visa on arrival, while 170 other countries will be given e-visa facility.