The new management headed by serving AVM and his team comprising several uniformed officers may have restored administrative discipline in PIA and most likely succeed in cleansing the airline of thousands of ghost employees. The decision to shift administrative Head Office to Islamabad is a wise step, but this alone is not sufficient to achieve a financial breakeven. Numerous foreign airlines, like KLM, BA, Lufthansa, Singapore etc, which once preferred Karachi as their transit hub for flights linking SE Asia and the Far East to their destinations in Europe and Trans-Atlantic destinations ceased to even operate there because it was no longer an economically and commercially viable port of landing.

PIA must embark on an aggressive marketing campaign to regain their lost clientele of ethnic Pakistani traffic bound for various regional and international destinations, which the national airline lost by their failure to offer passengers direct flights from hubs closer to their home. This will require hard work by a professionally qualified team experienced in commercial aviation, which unfortunately is lacking in the executives sent on deputation from the airforce. Unlike military aviation which works strictly on command and control structure, commercial aviation is a highly regulated industry subject to not just CAA but regulatory bodies of every country it overflies or lands at.

Transparency in financial accounting and procurement of essential spare parts and leasing of aircraft, reducing operating cost and route structure to meet needs of revenue passengers and providing quality in-flight services, such as food, comfortable cabin environment, entertainment and safe reliable schedules etc are key essential factors. Claims of break-even made by new management lack credibility because quarterly reports have not been published since 2017. Professional competence and qualified workforce are key elements. PIA Investments, a subsidiary, must have its accounts audited by Auditor General to plug leakages.


Peshawar, May 17.