The story of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is one of scandals and crises. While the case of fake and dubious licenses of pilots had not yet subsided, another scandal surfaced where some officials at the Sialkot PIA office accommodated old purchased tickets. As these officials pocketed around Rs8 million in the process, the national airliner incurred a substantial loss. Despite the tall claims of successive governments to make the national flag carrier the pride of our country, the rot runs deep. It is not going anywhere despite the government interventions. It is a sad sight to see that PIA has become a liability on the national exchequer and a source of constant embarrassment for Pakistan.

Unfortunately, the government’s attempts to restructure the management of PIA has not generated the desired goals that the government wanted to achieve. And when the national air carrier is in the midst of crises of all sorts, the management is nowhere to be seen. There are a few hard questions that they must answer and justify their appointments as the right choice for taking this institution out of the crises of poor governance and mismanagement.

The CEO himself admitted at the start of this year that PIA had become a liability due to mismanagement and corruption. The fact that some of the officials incurred such a loss to the national flag carrier and subsequently to the national kitty shows that the current setup, despite knowing all the maladies, is not doing enough against the ills in the body. It is time for the government to get rid of PIA. Privatising PIA is the only solution left with the government. But this can only happen once the deadwood and those deliberately harming the institution are rooted out. A criminal investigation and an honest appraisal of the workforce in PIA is urgently needed as a precursor.