ISLAMABAD - National flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has been sustaining an average loss of Rs 70 million per day during the year 2011, however, still there is no proposal under consideration of the PIA management to withdraw the facility of free air tickets to its employees.The Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar Friday told this to the Upper House of the Parliament through his written reply. The average loss per day, which is Rs 70,676,000 for the year 2011, is calculated on the basis of nine months that is till September 30, 2011, he added. He further informed the House that there was no proposal under consideration of the PIA management to withdraw the facility of free air tickets to its employees. Under the rules, the serving chairman or managing director of PIA is entitled to unlimited free air tickets for whole of his/ her family on both domestic and international routes for economy plus and business plus classes.While serving board members of PIA are entitled to four tickets, transferable within family, in economy plus class on domestic route and business plus class on international routes.The reply further states that retired chairmen/managing directors are entitled for lifetime to eight tickets, transferable within family, of economy plus class on domestic routes and four tickets of business plus class on international routes.The ex-board members enjoys the facility of two tickets, transferable within family, of economy plus and business plus class on both domestic and international routes. While the serving directors/DMD/chief operating officer/chief financial officer and managing director PIA also enjoys the same facility on both domestic and international routes.PIA’s general managers, deputy general managers, chief engineers, and deputy chief engineers are entitled to more free travelling facilities than the serving employees of pay group I to VIII on both domestic and international routes.To another question, it was informed by the Defence Minister that as many as seven airports in the country were closed due to suspension of PIA flight operations on account of insufficient traffic load. He informed total operational airports in the country were 26 including one private airport in Sialkot.He said at present neither PIA nor any other airline was interested in flight operation to/ from the closed down airports. Whenever, any proposal for the operations at any of the closed down airport was received from any airline, civil aviation authority would make the concerned airport operational in all respects, he added.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 21-Jan-2012 here.