PIA fails to maintain successful operation with even reduced fleet, schedule



Passengers at Medina airport protest against airline management; National carrier leaves several passengers in lurch after flight cancelation

Amraiz Khan

PIA schedules and fleet utilization have been drastically reduced and there is no logical reason why the reduced schedule is not being maintained.

From the original fleet of over 42 aircrafts the serviceable aircrafts are less than 20 now, which is criminal incompetence and mismanagement.

The irony is that instead of restructuring and reorganizing the airline to make it more profitable and commercial the management that has taken over this airline from 2019 onward has been reduced it to a regional and domestic airline from an international airline of repute and now providing feeder services to feed passengers to Turkish airline for onward travel.

On 14 January PIA flight Pk 714 from Medina to Islamabad was cancelled and passengers were informed through emails that they will now be adjusted on Pk 748 of 17 January on Medina-Lahore flight. Most of the Umrah performing passengers residing in hotels have limited or no access to internet etc.

These passengers were instructed to contact local PIA Booking Office or Contact Center. Revenue passengers were mishandled and those holding confirmed Business Class seats were denied this and instead allocated seats in economy with extra leg space.

This is reflective of the mismanagement by PIA management. Even the domestic operations to Lahore are disrupted and the excuse given is poor visibility etc.

The reality is that most foreign airlines are landing at Lahore in the time period that PIA flights are been delayed. Lahore airport is installed with ILS-111B Instrument Landing System which facilitates landing of aircraft with visibility as low as 50 Meters.

However, ILS111B Airport Instrument Landing System must be calibrated and maintained regularly by professionals with experience, to enable the aircrafts to land in poor visibility.

Similarly, the onboard aircraft ILS Automatic Landing System of the aircraft has to be maintained and regularly checked for performance as per industry standards.

Ever since imposition of ban by European Aviation Safety Agency EASA and withdrawal of Third Country Operator Authorization, following the irresponsible statement by PTI Aviation Minister in May 2020, on the floor of National Assembly that pilot licenses were fake, there has been a rapid deterioration in operations of PIA, the national airline.

Gross mismanagement and inexperience of former MD Arshad Malik and CAA Pakistan have resulted in lack of confidence in CAA ability to perform its essential regulatory functions and PIA to maintain their schedules.

All Pakistan registered airlines, including PIA have since been banned from operating into European airspace or land at any airports.

Foreign airlines which used to carry 30% of international bound passengers originating from Pakistan today carry over 85% of all Pakistan based foreign passenger air traffic and remit over US$2.4Billion annually in hard foreign exchange from sales of tickets on the counter and through credit cards.

This is adversely impacting our already dwindling FOREX reserves. It is time to wake up and restructure both CAA and PIA. The PIA Board of Directors consisting of an octogenarian must be restructured immediately, to enable them to