National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence Wednesday expressed concern over the ‘deal’ signed by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) with Turkish Airways regarding selling its routes in Europe and the United States to the latter, as the panel was informed by Additional Secretary Defence Maj Gen Haider Ali Khan (Retd) that the deal has no legal status until verification of the two governments.
The committee met with its chairperson Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho in the chair at the Parliament House to discuss the PIA-Turkish Airways deal as well as to give approval to Carriage by Air Bill, 2010.
Briefing the committee, the Additional Secretary Defence said that it was an understanding between PIA and Turkish Airways, which has no legal cover unless it is verified by the governments of the two countries.
The committee, however, expressed concern over the understanding and recommended that PIA can’t sell out its profitable routes to any other airlines and also observed that the Managing Director should also be stopped to give statements in this regard.
The committee observed that PIA had no mandate to sell its profitable routes anywhere to any airliner and any decision in this regard should be taken by the ministry concerned. The NA panel also summoned MD PIA in the next meeting for briefing on the deal.
The committee also gave approval to the Carriage by Air Bill, 2010 that suggests increase in compensation from Rs.0.5 million to Rs.1 million to those killed in air crash and compensation of the missing goods from six kg to 1,000 kg.
The committee had thorough discussions on the bill in its earlier sessions to take all stakeholders on board prior to its approval.
Admitted by National Assembly on June 28, 2010, the Carriage by Air Bill, 2010 is introduced also to give effect in Pakistan to the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, 1999, and to consolidate the laws and applicable conventions in relation to international carriage by air as well as the law applicable to domestic carriage by air. In December 2006, Pakistan ratified the Montreal Convention for unification of certain rules for International Carriage by Air, 1999.
The applicable provisions of the Carriage by Air Conventions shall have the force of law in Pakistan in relation to any carriage by air to which they apply, irrespective of nationality of the aircraft performing that carriage.
In matters relating to carriage by air Pakistan has been a party to the Warsaw Convention 1929 and The Hague Protocol of 1955 that amends the Warsaw Convention, the Guadalajara Convention of 1961 that is supplementary to the Warsaw Convention.
The law of Pakistan relating to international carriage by air is governed by the following Acts:
* The Carriage by Air Act, 1934 to implement the Warsaw Convention, 1929
* The Carriage by Air (International Convention) Act, 1968 to implement The Hague Protocol of 1955
* The Carriage by Air (Supplementary Convention) Act, 1968 to implement the Guadalajara Convention, 1961
In December 2006 Pakistan ratified the Montreal Convention for Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, 1999.
(Published in Daily Business Recorder on Thursday, January 13, 2011)