21 February 2024

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Pakistan Pushed to Outsource Islamabad Airport to Increase Foreign Exchange Reserves: Report

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According to a Dawn article claiming sources, the government of Pakistan has been pushing for the outsourcing of major airport operations, including Islamabad International Airport (IIA), due to the continual depletion of forex reserves. 

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has called many meetings of the committee constituted to seek overseas outsourcing providers. He told stakeholders that the processes for outsourcing the operations of Islamabad International Airport (IIA) must be completed by August 12. 

Dar presided over a steering group meeting on Saturday to examine the development of airport operations outsourcing. Dawn stated that the committee had given explicit orders to finish the appropriate procedures for IIA outsourcing as soon as possible. 


An official statement issued following the meeting stated that the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the transaction adviser for the outsourcing, briefed the meeting on the progress. The meeting agreed to expedite IIA’s outsourcing in order to improve service delivery in accordance with the best industry practices. 

On March 31, the Economic Coordination Committee approved to begin a 25-year outsourcing of operations and land assets at Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi airports. To create foreign exchange, their functions will be carried out through a public-private partnership.

According to Dawn, the finance minister also set a deadline for departments to finalise modifications to civil aviation regulations and a restructuring plan for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) during the meeting. 

The changes are being made to separate the roles of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PIA) and the Airports Security Force. By enacting ordinances, the goal is to eliminate overlapping obligations of various organisations.

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Pakistan Forex Crises

Dar emphasised the importance of obtaining reforms approved by parliament before the end of July. This schedule is critical because it will allow global aviation regulators to send inspectors to the ground in August to assess the operational systems and standards required to restart PIA’s flights to the US, UK, and Europe. 


According to ANI, failure to reach this deadline would result in a year-long delay before the inspections could take place. 

Federal Minister for Aviation and Railways Saad Rafique, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance Tariq Bajwa, Aviation Division secretary, Public Private Partnership Authority CEO, PCAA director general, IFC representatives, and other government officials attended the meeting chaired by the finance minister.

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