Is this appointment in PIA of retired AM Rao Qamar Suleman as MD going to be a blessing in disguise like Nur Khan and Rafique Saigol, or another disappointment and disaster like AVM Viqar Azeem, AVM Niaz, Ch Ahmed Saeed, Tariq Kirmani, Aijaz Haroon etc. In spite of its vast potential for revenue generation with an assured ethnic traffic the PIA has been driven to a state of financial insolvency by a corrupt and incompetent management dominated by mediocrity and political nominees and cronies. Since 2008 PIA's vital marketing department has been headed by corrupt mediocrity with nominees who have never had any qualification or experience in commercial aviation sales. Commercial aviation is a specialized field which requires highly qualified professionals with integrity so that pilferage and leakages can be curtailed. The last four years has witnessed PIA losses rising from Rs 42.4 billion in March 2008 to Rs 111.5 billion by Sept 2011. The government has already reimbursed financial charges totaling Rs 17.29 billion towards equity for Jan to Sept 2011 and also provided unsecured loans of Rs 8 billion. It faces another suspension and censure by European Union because of compromises in safety and maintenance standards, which it had undergone in 2007. Military aviation is an unregulated operation subject to security requirements and chain of command, while commercial aviation is a highly regulated service industry subject to ICAO regulations, passenger safety requirements, flight regularity and regulatory controls of all states where airline operates.
GULL ZAMAN,
Peshawar, April 1.