No immediate solution to fix PIA, top court told

Total losses reach Rs406b

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad

The National flag carrier, the PIA has been suffering losses worth billions of rupees over the last many years despite the bailout packages given to it, thus becoming a liability on the national exchequer. And there appears to be no immediate solution to fix its problems. Administration of the PIA Pakistan International Airlines also accepted this before the Supreme Court on Friday that bringing immediate improvements to the national flag carrier are not possible.
A response from PIA’s administration was submitted to the court hearing the airline’s privatization case. According to the document, Pakistan’s unfavourable circumstances have affected the airline. The response further said that losses on most routes and excess staff were the primary reasons that resulted in the airline’s losses.
According to PIA administration, most aircraft have been grounded since last year. Political interference and a largely demotivated staff have added to the challenges faced by the national carrier, the response stated.
The airline’s total loss has reached Rs406 billion, with a total of just Rs111 billion assets. PIA’s administration further informed the top court that the airline’s staff lacked the required experience and expertise. The airline is operating on the same pattern as government departments, PIA’s response stated.
The national carrier’s business model cannot make it profitable, the response further stated, adding that the national carrier was facing a lot of hindrances in its efforts for improvement due to the presence of workers’ unions. A thirty-percent improvement in the sale of tickets is because of the new administrative steps, the response said. It further added that the airline’s income increased by five per cent in the past year, with an 8.5 per cent improvement in income from cargo service.
PIA’s response also explained that an intent to remove the national flag from the aircraft was not involved in the decision to place a Markhor’s picture on the tail.

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