The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
A day after making plastic wrapping, an extra layer of protection over the baggage, of all check-in luggage mandatory at all airports of Pakistan, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has retracted its decision following social media backlash.
The CAA has taken the decision to increase compliance level with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The decision had drawn scorn and criticism from frequent flyers and environmentalists.
"What is the logic for this requirement if this isn’t legalised corruption,” one angry traveller tweeted. Asif Nawaz Shah, another social media critic, called the new policy a "corrupt profit-making endeavour.”
Others suggested the quantity of plastic that would be needed was wasteful. "Why is the #CAA destroying the #environment,” tweeted Ayesha Tammy Haq, a lawyer and broadcast journalist.
"The letter under reference is to be treated as cancelled ab initio with immediate effect. Any correspondence made in furtherance of the referred latter is also required to be cancelled,” said a notification issued by the CAA.
"Compliance with regard to the above instructions is to be ensured with immediate effect,” it added in the notification directed at Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad, Quetta and Sukkur airports.
In the previous notice issued to all airports, the CAA had said that all baggage of international and domestic passengers were to be wrapped with plastic sheet at the initial stage of scanning at combined search counters of Airports Security Force (ASF), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and the customs.
The CAA had already slashed luggage-wrapping rates by up to 87% earlier this week.
Previously, most of the airports in Pakistan had only one plastic wrapping machine, which caused nuisance to the passengers. To address the grievance, the CAA issued a tender notice for multiple plastic wrapping machines at main airports and reduced the service charges of Rs400 for large-sized bags and Rs200 for small-sized bags to a uniform rate of Rs50 for all sizes of bags.
Luggage-wrapping machines are a feature at many airports in Pakistan — and elsewhere in the world — but are usually used by passengers to prevent theft by light-fingered baggage handlers.
According to the ICAO, the safety of passengers and their baggage are two important elements in the ranking of an airport or the aviation industry. Plastic wrapping prevents damage when handlers have to swiftly move bags on and off planes.
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"Ads must be constructive rather than destructive," Usman said, adding that Western culture was corrupting Pakistan, pointing to the recent arrival of nudity in films and women marching in favour of abortion in Pakistan earlier this year.
The aviation secretary said that the top priority of the CAA was to provide maximum facilities to the passengers at every airport of Pakistan.
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