PAKISTAN International Airlines seems to run out of reasons for flights to be delayed or cancelled. A Karachi-bound flight had to be fumigated and the aircraft kept airtight for more than 24 hours after a mouse was spotted in the Business Class, minutes before takeoff. It did not happen for the first time with PIA. There have been instances in the past when flights were delayed or cancelled because of the presence of cockroaches or other insects, and once even a cat, in the aircraft. Perhaps what could be an exception for other airlines has become a rule with the national flagcarrier. But every time any such thing happens, there is a run-off-the-mill response from the staff: the flight has been delayed because of some technical problem. This is a sad reflection on PIA, whose top management appears to be more concerned about perks and privileges rather than improving the image of what used to be a major and respectable airline in the world. Little has been done to keep the clientele happy and comfortable. Domestic and international flights are equally bad. Lacking competitiveness to keep pace with the burgeoning air travel, the PIA management's opposition to even a limited open-sky policy is not hard to fathom. Probably it understands that it could result in losing a sizeable chunk of its passengers, mostly Pakistanis living abroad, who fly by PIA not merely out of patriotism, but for the advantage of direct flights to various destinations in and around Pakistan. This approach has to change, if the airline is to be prevented from being pushed out of free-market competition.