After conducting over seven consecutive Hajj operations involving long delays and huge losses to PIA, its management has announced once again to embark upon, yet another such operation. Even before the start of new planned Hajj operation, there has hardly been any flight to Riyadh or Jeddah which has been on time, with delays ranging from four hours to twelve hours. With such poor regularity and delays, PIA stands to be fined heavily for missing its slots by Saudi Civil Aviation. To make matters worse PIA’s Flight Dispatch and Central Control which co-ordinates between Traffic, ATC, Metrology, Saudi Hajj Directorate etc has again been handed over to yet another matriculate, instead of being run by qualified, experienced and FOO licensed officers, like other airlines of repute.

A more economic option would have been to conduct this operation with leased aircrafts, at a cost far less than incurred by PIA’s own fleet, involving aged B747 and it’s already over stretched B777 fleet, with almost half fleet grounded for lack of spares and funds. As it is, PIA is depleting Rs3.5 billion every month because of losses and mismanagement. What was more important than utilisation of PIA staff or crew is convenience of Hajjis and saving them from enduring untold hardships while waiting for aircrafts on the return journey, after performance of pilgrimage with their energies exhausted.

This government is in for another self-inflicted wound, if it does not take immediate steps to rid PIA of the rot that dominates its corridors and the corrupt mediocrity which has pilfered its revenues and responsible for appointment of controversial vendors selected to supply essential spare parts, substandard flight kitchen items and defective ground handling equipment, with an incompetent CAA failing to regulate all airlines under its control. 

RASHID ORAKZAI,

Islamabad, August 23.