There is little that can be done to please the employees of PIA, who are given too much of a say in running the decrepit remains of what used to be a successful airline. With their numbers exceeding the amount of workers by threefold than what is actually needed, the strength of the combined union of all employees ensures that the status quo prevails, and everybody gets paid for doing little or no work. The government’s recent decision to discontinue un-profitable routes, and close down un-operational stations overseas has been received with expected criticism by the Joint Action Committee of Pakistan International Airlines Employees (JACPIAE). They believe that the state should use their expertise to determine how these routes can be made profitable and were not happy that the government decided to shut down the stations just when the airline was about to change things for the better.

If their knowledge was all that was needed to make this venture profitable, one can only wonder why they did not volunteer any information in the decades that PIA was at its worst. And why do they suddenly believe that PIA’s glory will somehow be restored for inexplicable reasons? Is it because of the privitisation plans that the JACPIAE has so vehemently opposed every chance they get? Their rigidity and unwillingness to improve the company is displayed by their obtuse conviction to speak out against any moves made for the privatisation of PIA, even if the government is only considering privatising a mere quarter of the company’s holdings. And you cannot blame them for their reluctance either, considering that no matter how much loss the airline generates, all the workers will receive their pay cheque with the most exemplary display of punctuality uncharacteristic to other state institutions and will be able to take sandwich breaks whenever they are inclined to do so. The ‘experts’ at PIA believe that shutting down stations that were costing the government Rs 400 million a year is a bad idea, which goes to show exactly why PIA is where it is today.

The only way for PIA to remain a public institution would be if it were to somehow start generating profits instead of massive losses. But how it is supposed to do so, considering it is incurring costs that it has no need to while it shies away from doing anything that generates actual revenue. The only real way out of this mess is to break the monopoly of the parasitical JACPIAE, which feeds on the state’s money as if they are entitled to it, and bring in private investors that actually have an incentive to turn things around. So while the JACPIAE’s generous offer to give advice is almost tempting, the country would be much better off if this union stopped reaching new heights of self-seeking behaviour and for once, actually did something that was positive for the organisation that hires them as well.