It is only this year that PIA pre-Hajj operation, has been conducted relatively better than in the past four years, when it was a nightmare for pilgrims who paid high fares on PIA’s.

This offers some hope that PIA may be on the rebound and improve its flagging services. For this to happen, it is essential that those responsible for its downfall should have no role in the new management. PIA’s recorded financial losses, disruption of schedules and staggering additional Rs 100 billion losses during the past four years is an indictment of the incompetence and lack of integrity and professional ethics of the top executives appointed by this government, without regard to merit, experience, professional ethics or qualification.

Commercial aviation is a very specialized field, which requires services of a qualified and professionals team to cope with the challenges offered by a highly competitive market. Competitive fares, consumer friendly schedules and minimal pilferage by transparency in procurement are the leading challenges. What could have been worse than the fact that even Umra and Hajj passengers were fleeced by a nexus of few marketing executives and few travel agents who created a cartel of sorts? There should be no doubt that responsibility for PIA’s failures rests with none other than the top executives who were at the helm when the losses occurred.

In spite of an assured loyal ethnic expatriate traffic, the national airline lost its market share by collective failure of its executives and a government which went on a loot sale of traffic rights to foreign airline without bilateral benefits to national airline. The highly controversial deal with THY was nothing but selling most expensive sole asset of PIA, which were its routes for peanuts. Almost half of PIA’s fleet was grounded because of lack of technical spares, a consequence of controversial selection of vendors for supplying of spares. While PIA losses mounted and frequency of flights were slashed, the national airline against all commercial ethics, further added to its already surplus employee strength by hiring more employees in violation of merit or transparency. There is no shortage of educated, skilled manpower in Pakistan, nor any compulsion to hand over a prestigious organization such as PIA to lesser qualified people whose sole experience was irrelevant. Every country in the world tries to protect its assets, most rulers are patriotic, but unfortunately Pakistan is ruled by ‘self-alistic’ people who are only interested in their personal gains rather then what can improve their institutions. PIA requires experts with integrity and competence to guide it out of the mess it is in.

ALI MALIK,

Illinois, November 06.