It appears that the many failures suffered by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) this year have finally pushed the way for some accountability to be pursued against the developments which sank the organisation into a culture of inefficiency. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday arrested the former managing director (MD) of the PIA and a senior officer on charges of making illegal appointments. One of the illegal appointments included that of a Pakistani American to an extremely comfortable senior position, allegedly in violation of human resources rules. This appointment cost the national exchequer losses in millions of rupees.

PIA has been making headlines again recently, with new initiatives announced. Just last week, it introduced a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) for its employees which the airline claims will save Rs4.7 billion and benefit more than 2,700 workers.

Illegal appointments, unreliable certifications, extravagant unearned salaries and perks—these were all the culmination of the working environment of PIA which allowed it to lose credibility and become known as an incompetent organisation. After hitting rock bottom this year, by being blacklisted from several international airports, it is good that the authorities are looking into what went wrong with PIA and enforcing accountability against those who allowed the system to rot. Transparency was a quality that had greatly been lacking in PIA—and these arrests, as well as release of information and the excesses made at the cost of the national exchequer are a way of bringing some transparency back to the national flag carrier.

These developments seem a part of the government’s strategy to “restructure the PIA”. While the initiatives for accountability and reform in the PIA have been slow, they are necessary, or the workers in PIA will have to face their worst fear and see the institution get privatised.