The billions of rupees of funding or credits provided to PIA on sovereign guarantees by federal government will go down the drain, if corrupt mediocrity that dominates its executive corridors is not purged. It has to be restored to status of service oriented industry, instead of an organization burdened to provide employment to unqualified children and relatives of the ruling elite, airline employees or the khaki bureaucracy, while its GSAs, routes, fleet induction plans traded as political bribes by every successive government for decades.

PIA in spite of an assured clientele of ethnic Pakistanis, has incurred massive losses of over Rs100 billion in the past four years. The unfortunate reality is that PIA’s vast potential for revenue generation, high salaried employment benefits and growth factor, became its biggest liability. For these very benefits entice the corrupt civil and military governments to pilfer its abundant revenues. It is an airline where choice of aircrafts bought, or fleet requirements are not dictated by commercial and financial factors, but massive kickbacks which big deals. This is an airline, whose management’s excuse is that it does not have millions to buy spares, but can seek billions to buy new aircrafts, pay millions of dollars to hire top officials, consultants etc. Its sole surviving assets, namely human resources and routes, have now been compromised by surplus recruitments in violation of merit and loot sale of routes in violation of all bilateral agreement norms.

While airlines all over the world have raised their minimal induction requirement for pilots, engineers, sales executives, cabin crew or IT professionals, PIA has either maintained them at the level which existed in the 60s or 70s, or even given waivers to suit individuals. Airlines all over the world hire 14 to 16 pilots per aircraft, while PIA has over 26 for its fleet of 40 aircraft, with more than 200 surplus fresh recruits waiting for years to be operational, in spite of the fact that only 30 aircrafts are serviceable.

Recently PIA announced that it had terminated services of six pilots who had submitted fake matriculation or intermediate degrees at time of induction, while the actual fact is that five of them were facilitated to resign with full benefits, and their licenses were validated by CAA, since none of them faced criminal charges of forgery. There are thousands of employees still on its payroll, who submitted fake domiciles and degrees from fake universities, faced serious criminal charges for heinous moral crimes and grave financial irregularities, but were either recruited or promoted, while there is no dearth of more qualified and competent Pakistanis eager to serve in their national airline. Either PIA should do away with all this dead load, or else it should be shut down and sold to the highest bidder as is happening to all the national assets by the current government.

SHAHZAD KHALIL,

Sialkot, December 26.