When AVM Zafar, devoid of any commercial aviation experience, took over PIA in 1971, his management declared it nonviable and recommended cutting down fleet, routes, manpower by half, on simple logic that country had been split. ZAB removed him and appointed Rafique Saigol, who put it back on track and by time Nur Khan took over, the airline was on path of expansion establishing itself as amongst leading airlines of region. Nur Khan, a man of integrity, was able to achieve success, because he selected and recruited best team of qualified professionals, with emphasis on training and quality in-flight service to passengers, offering a reliable schedule with no compromises on safety.

PIA devoid of human resources cannot survive without structural changes in management. Its downfall started when Nur Khan resigned in protest against undue interference by Ziaul Haq, and thereafter every successive government has abused this organization amid recruitments in violation of merit and massive kickbacks in fleet induction and procurement. Flight regularity suffered while General Sales Agencies and Ground Handling contracts awarded on political interference to individuals who lacked credibility and competence. The airline human resources were polluted by every government, treating airline as if it were spoils of war, not a national asset. PIA subsidiaries like Hotel Roosevelt, Scribe etc, developed over years, became target of institutionalized plunder and cronyism. From controversial sale or swap of new DC-10 with old Boeing 747-200, to acquiring of B747-300 from Cathay without engines, and for which PIA paid a phenomenal rent per hour of usage, to controversial B777 induction, it was a matter of time for Accumulated Losses to escalate and Debts and Liabilities to exceed assets, forcing external auditors to establish that it is no longer sustainable as a going concern.

ALI MALIK,

Lahore, January 8.