OUR STAFF REPORTER KARACHI - The national flag carrier PIA has achieved highest revenue in excess of Rs107.532 billion in 2010 as compared to Rs95.564 billion in 2009, with a revenue growth of 12.52 percent. The airline also registered an increase in seat factor from 70 percent in 2009 to 74 percent in 2010 and achieved an operating profit of Rs720 million. With the world GDP forecast to rise by 3.1 percent during 2011, it is expected that demand for air travel (both passenger and cargo segments) would increase by 5.6 percent and 6.1 percent respectively in the year 2011. President of the AGM and Member PIA Board, Husain Lawai informed the shareholders at the 54th Annual General Meeting of PIA held at a local hotel here on Tuesday. PIA MD Nadeem Khan Yousufzai in his first address to the shareholders at the AGM meeting said that the year 2010 proved to be a challenging year; while the global economy is gradually moving out of recession, the aviation industry has still not been able to fully recover from the crisis that engulfed it in the wake of the oil price hike. He said that the recent events in the Middle East, oil prices have again started to climb which is affecting the aviation industry to return to profitability. PIA is also affected by the oil prices coupled with inflation in the country. PIA does not get any subsidy from the government on oil purchase. He said that PIA is going into expansion and is in the process of getting additional aircraft and discussions are underway with PIA Board of Directors and Government of Pakistan. The airline has also implemented Web Ticketing for the convenience of the passengers; this he said will also result in savings for the airline. He said PIA is now focusing on revenue increase, network expansion and savings. In his concluding remarks, Managing Director PIA, Nadeem Khan Yousufzai said PIA has already submitted its Business Plan to the Government of Pakistan. Based on the financial projections contained in the business plan, the airline is expected to start earning profits provided the Business Plan is approved and significant financial support is provided to the Corporation, MD PIA added. He said that the airline achieved an operating profit of Rs720 million. However, the overall financial position of the airline was mainly affected by the fuel prices; from Rs149.39 Per US gallon in 2009 to Rs194.57 Per US gallon in 2010. Fuel cost constitutes 42% of the total airline operating cost. The Yearly basket of crude oil price increased to US $ 77.45 per barrel in 2010 from US $ 61.06 per barrel in 2009 showing an increase of almost 27 percent. PIA will have to link oil prices with fuel surcharge as oil prices are beyond the control of the airline, he said. The operating expenses other than fuel decreased by 3.88 % over last year. This was due to the decrease in exchange loss by Rs. 4,409 million over last year due to stable exchange rate in 2010 as compared to the devaluation of 6.71% of Pak rupee against the dollar in 2009, he added.